High rents aren’t just hurting people’s finances, they’re also having an adverse effect on their health as well.
A recent study by affordable housing non-profit Enterprise Community Partners Inc. shows that more than half of renters in the U.S. have avoided seeking healthcare because they can’t afford it.
Even worse, the study found that numerous medical professionals it surveyed reported that they have patients who expressed concerns about their high rents.
Rising rents are forcing many low-income earners to use money that could be spent on healthcare to cover their housing costs instead. Some 45% of “severely rent-burdened” individuals said they couldn’t afford to follow up on medical treatment because they need to pay the rent. Moreover, 31% said they’d delayed a routine checkup due to a lack of funds.
“Our health is inextricably linked to our home—whether it’s poorly designed or maintained housing, stress from having to move frequently, or illness that develops or goes untreated because of skipping care and treatment to make rent,” said Brian Rahmer, Enterprise’s vice president of health and housing.
A study last year by the American Association of Pediatrics said that housing instability could have widespread health implications. They urged medical professionals to start screening children and caregivers for housing instability, including those who are behind on rent, multiple moves, or homelessness.
Some housing groups and lawmakers are starting to explore potential solutions and programs aimed at improving the health-housing connection of consumers. For example, Medicaid programs in Oregon, New York, and Massachusetts have partnered with local and regional healthcare systems to invest in housing services, Curbed.com reported.
Some large healthcare systems have invested in community benefit funds to support new affordable housing developments.