How Housing Affects Health
The quality of housing has the potential to help or harm families’ health in major ways. Families without decent housing are exposed to greater personal and environmental risks, are less nourished, and have diminished access to health care. Housing is becoming increasingly important to public health, according to the World Health Organization.
Respiratory diseases, lead poisoning, cancers from toxic materials, neurological disorders, stress, psychological and behavioral dysfunction are only some examples of how unsafe physical surroundings can negatively affect health.
Housing is directly linked to the health of the families who live in it. The physical condition of the home, neighborhoods surrounding the home, and housing affordability are all factors that shape the well-being of families.
Housing Affordability Makes The Difference
Housing is considered affordable when a family spends less than 30 percent of their income towards their monthly living expenses. The lack of affordable housing and high housing-related costs can affect families’ spending habits of food, electricity, and other basic needs. Affordability raises a family’s standard of living and relieves the psychological pressure of being forced to make tough trade-offs just to make it through month after month.
The place you call home should never threaten your health. Decent and affordable housing help make that difference. It can also mean the difference between thriving and merely surviving.
Our Kenwood Homes: Healthy Homes Mean Healthy Families
Saundra was a single mother who dreamed of a home for her children. Before Habitat, they lived in a small rental apartment with peeling paint, mold, and in need of some extensive repairs . The poor living conditions Saundra and her children lived in were attributing to respiratory problems, a common affliction among children who grow up in these kinds of conditions. They lived and breathed in an unhealthy environment before qualifying for their new Habitat home.
Saundra allowed herself to finally dream of homeownership when she saw an SGV Habitat table displaying the Kenwood Homes (pictured on top) construction site at the mall. After her family was selected to become homeowners, they worked hard to build their house. Saundra completed 525 sweat equity hours and got to know her future neighbors while working at the construction site. Today, Saundra and her three children have the space and community to thrive in. They now enjoy their family dinners more because they can finally fit around the kitchen table.
“To have this home that we know we worked hard for, to know that we are able to sit down for a meal together in our home and enjoy being a family, nothing makes me happier.”
How You Can Help
- Advocate for affordable housing – for everyone
- Help sustain and expand the Healthy Homes initiatives at the federal, state and local levels, including public-private collaborative programs
- Strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws, including the Fair Housing Act and other state and local regulations prohibiting racial discrimination in housing markets
- Donate now to show your support to fix the housing crisis in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond
Decent and affordable housing can be achieved for families in the San Gabriel Valley with your help. Improved housing conditions can save lives, reduce diseases, increase quality of life, and help families and neighborhoods thrive.
Volunteer Spotlight: Justin
Justin (pictured below) is our last volunteer feature for #NationalVolunteerMonth. Born in San Gabriel and raised in Azusa, he has been volunteering with Habitat for over two years!
“I wanted to help local organizations that would affect a greater amount of people. Habitat’s office was just a 3-minute drive from my home! I started helping with clerical work and data entry and have been volunteering there ever since.
“On my first day of volunteering at Habitat, I learned that Habitat builds homes for people in need and bring communities together! Through many programs and events, such as Women Build, there are many opportunities for the community to gather, communicate, and give back.”
He continues to volunteer every few weeks – but why you ask?
“I choose to help others because it makes me so happy to improve or ease someone’s day in any way. I believe that helping others helps us stay connected, and helping out as much as you can brings more joy into the world.
“I think that a safe and stable home is important because it is crucial for one’s mental and physical health. A person needs a safe place to reside and rest at the end of the day. Further, a safe home is especially important for families because it is the place where they grow and create meaningful relationships. A stable home is essential. It offers protection and helps people flourish.
“I encourage everyone, no matter your age, to support Habitat for Humanity by volunteering. There is always something engaging and productive to do, and it is an amazing environment to work in. I know that every task I do when I volunteer will impact so many people. Whether you volunteer in the office or help build a home – there are always friendly people there to assist you. Volunteering at Habitat is always the highlight of my week and I am so glad I get to help this amazing organization.”