Face the Facts: Housing


Myth: A house is all about the aesthetics.

Truth: Where you live is an indicator of health.

Turn on the TV station HGTV and you’ll get many ideas of what paint colors go together, how to furnish a living room and what color backsplash to add to your new granite counter tops.

Or just add things to your wish list of what your house good be like.

Yet a home is more than just a building with rooms. It’s a representation of a life. And it also affects your health.

The National Center for Healthy Housing names housing as a social determinant of health. In combining environmental and societal factors of health, housing as a lot of influence.

The National Healthy Home Standard defines a healthy home as:

  • Clean
  • Safe and sanitary
  • No hazards or pests
  • Includes safety and security measures

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development adds the characteristics of:

  • Dry
  • Well-ventilated
  • Contaminant-free
  • Well-maintained
  • Thermally controlled

What happens if houses don’t meet these standards? One’s health experiences the consequences.

A report by the American Housing Survey found that from 2005-2009, 2 million dwelling places in the U.S. had severe physical problems including issues with plumbing, running water or heat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 24 million homes still wear banned lead-based paint on the walls.

These issues stem from a lack of investment in the private sector and affordable housing. An article by Lindsey Wahowiak from The Nation’s Health says that, “for people with low incomes, housing can be a fight between what they can afford and what they know to be healthy.”

This connection with housing and one’s health isn’t a new phenomenon but a perpetual cycle.

Wahowiak continues in the article to say, that for low-income families, “it can be difficult to move up into better housing, or even maintain the status of the housing a person or family currently lives in.”

Such lack of access to proper housing can lead to harsh health effects for low-income families.


Especially in our cold Michigan winters, Access of West Michigan knows that having a warm place to sleep and a hot cup of tea is important.

With our Congregations Connection and Benefits Outreach program, we seek to provide opportunities to have and maintain a healthy home.



Interested in how you can help someone have a healthy home? Or in need of a healthy home yourself? Learn more about our poverty-alleviating programs.



Similar Posts