“Housing is absolutely essential to human flourishing. Without stable shelter, it all falls apart”
– Mathew Desmond
Housing and economic growth aids equity across affordable housing which is vital to all families’ health and their well-being. It enhances social connections and opportunities, limits chronic stress, and encourages families to stimulate the development of their children, access to decent housing is essential to opportunity as a consequence of insufficient housing on wide-ranging facets of health and well-being. Further, inequalities in access to decent housing did not arise abruptly, but were socially created and forced upon the underprivileged primarily through discriminatory private and governmental decisions, inequitable policies, and a failure to establish protective policies. Housing is perceived by people as a conundrum of consumer preference. Housing is, from this perspective, a marketplace where people strive to maximise profits by buying from sellers who are out to maximize profit. This causes individuals to see the standard of housing as a simple cost factor. Some people who can afford high-quality, adequate shelter and some are simply helpless. These disparities in the quality of housing are seen as an intrinsic feature of this sector and as unavoidable as differences in access and availability suggest that the market is performing as it should. This viewpoint helps the public to thrive on these inequalities in the standard of housing and justifies the reality that in these developed nations, a vast population resides in unsafe, inadequate and precarious housing conditions
Equity in Health
It is pivotal for healthcare professionals and decision makers to use housing as a mechanism to eliminate health inequalities rather than exacerbate them. To do so, a vision for equitable, safe housing should be embraced by the field of public health and strategies should be identified to achieve it. Housing plus population health initiatives should cover all pillars of housing by encouraging the physical design and programming of residential spaces to encourage health through the implementation of a health-in-all-policies approach to housing and community growth, as well as the preservation, renovation and efficient proximity of existing affordable housing; and the extension of subsidized housing alternatives for people facing housing crisis.
The root cause of housing inequalities are embedded in discriminatory actions and inequitable indifference by policymakers. Efficiently tailored solutions to avoid and mitigate housing disparities need to take place at the policy level and should provide systemic solutions to remedy historic injustices. A fundamental challenge to health and social justice is the idea that decent housing is a privilege rather than a right. There is a vital need to reform the present rhetoric, and even more critically, practise, so that the underlying housing conditions that foster health, well-being, and a sense of community are given sufficient attention. To accelerate this narrative, interdisciplinary cooperation between physicians, public health professionals, urban and regional planners, housing developers, and architects would be needed to understand the health effects of availability of housing, conditions, security, and the environment around it. We are not going to thrive as a sustainable and safe community if we do not find out a way to build equity, true equity, opportunities, access to decent health care, embrace and thrive together as a community.
Written by ,
Sumit Rahangdale 2018BPLN030
School of Planning and Architecture-Bhopal