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Report: Stable Housing Can Boost Health of WI Residents

A new report says housing instability has multiple effects on health, even leading to mental health conditions and behavioral problems in children. (Adobe Stock)
A new report says housing instability has multiple effects on health, even leading to mental health conditions and behavioral problems in children. (Adobe Stock)
March 4, 2020

MADISON, Wis. -- A new report from a Wisconsin research group connects the dots between a person's housing situation and his or her overall health.

The findings from the Community Advocates' Public Policy Institute recommend that policymakers take certain steps to ensure that people aren't either too stressed by a lack of affordable housing or living in a hazardous dwelling.

Mike Bare, the group's research and program coordinator, said those factors -- not just how people take care of themselves -- can impact their health outcomes.

"The other factors are things that are generally and largely out of our control," he said, "things like housing, access to transportation, healthy food and what the environment generally looks like around your home."

The report offers 32 recommendations for local, state and federal officials, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and expanding incentives for developers to build more affordable housing units.

The report has a general focus on the greater Milwaukee area, but Bare said it can apply to other regions in the state as well.

"Obviously, every housing market has its own factors that influence what cost and housing security look like," he said, "but a number of these things would require state law changes and some federal law changes and reforms, and therefore would have a spill-over benefit beyond just Milwaukee, into any community."

A separate report last year by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition ranked Wisconsin 32nd in the nation for affordable rental units. Another report from the National Association of Realtors listed Wisconsin among the worst states for black home ownership.

The PPI report is online at ppi.communityadvocates.net, the NLIHC report is at reports.nlihc.org, and the NAR report is at nar.realtor.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - WI