Housing News Roundup: February 23, 2017 | How Housing Matters

Housing News Roundup: February 23, 2017

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Early Education Gains May Fade with Stresses of Poverty

Public spending on early childhood education may miss opportunities to close the achievement gap for low-income children. An analysis by professors Drew Bailey, Greg Duncan, and Candice Odgers finds that the initial educational advancements experienced by low-income children who attended high-quality preschool fade during kindergarten, although some benefits continue into adulthood. The findings may reflect other disadvantages faced by low-income children, such as parental stress, homelessness, poverty-related stress, or exposure to violence. In addition to addressing these out-of-school factors, evidence-based approaches include nurse home visiting and community-wide preschool efforts that enable a more advanced kindergarten curriculum.

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Source: Washington Post

An “Accountable Care” Approach to Patients’ Health Leads to Social Interventions

When health care providers have an incentive to boost patients’ health rather than health care use, providers find benefits addressing patients’ social needs. According to Nirav Shah, a physician at Kaiser Permanente and former New York state health commissioner, providers can instead look at health care “as a math problem to determine how to maximize total health by looking at all parts of the equation.” Kaiser employees now call their high-utilization patients to inquire about nonmedical needs that may affect health, such as food, housing, utilities, and transportation. For one patient, these calls resulted in her apartment getting a handrail at the entrance, a low-cost intervention to prevent costly falls. The Accountable Health Communities program through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services may help demonstrate the value of this approach, eventually changing government reimbursement rules that focus on more-traditional medical services.

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Source: USA Today

Gentrification Impacts the Health of Residents in Philadelphia

Gentrification is associated with poorer self-reported health for black residents in Philadelphia, according to a study by Joseph Gibbons and Michael S. Barton in the Journal of Urban Health. Using a large-scale health survey, the authors matched responses from people about their health status and conditions, health-related behaviors, and health care use to their neighborhoods. The researchers compared the likelihood of residents self-reporting poor health in gentrifying neighborhoods with residents in neighborhoods not undergoing change. While black respondents were 27.3 percent more likely to self-report poor to fair health, regardless of neighborhood, black residents in gentrifying neighborhoods were nearly 75 percent more likely to report poor to fair health than their peers in other neighborhoods.

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Source: CityLab

Boston's Suburban Poor Population is Growing Rapidly

Boston’s suburban poor population is growing rapidly, demonstrating a new “geography of poverty.” Nationally, the suburban poor population grew 65 percent between 2000 and 2014, a rate over two-times that of cities, according to Elizabeth Kneebone. Support systems in affluent areas outside Boston, such as child mentoring programs, food pantries, and fuel assistance programs, are experiencing this trend locally, as the demand for their services increases, especially by two-parent families, grandparents acting as caregivers, and Spanish-speaking parents. “Poverty no longer means that you have no money. Poverty means that you don’t have enough money consistently to pay your bills, to buy your food, and to be able to keep up with the prices as they go up,” explains Paul Mina of the United Way of Tri-County. For many, the growing gap between incomes and costs of living, especially housing costs, drive these increases in suburban poverty. The North Shore, for instance, has few affordable housing options, as zoning restrictions limit multifamily housing. According to Andrew DeFranza, a nonprofit affordable housing developer, “There are a whole lot of people, home health aides, nursery school workers, doing things society depends on, who can’t possibly meet their housing costs.”

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Source: The Boston Globe

California's Floods are Washing Out Some Homeless Groups

Some Californians dealing with homelessness live outdoors near lakes and rivers, and many are being displaced by recent flooding in California. Precipitation across California has increased in recent months, and precipitation in Northern California since October is more than double what is typically seen during this period. In San Jose, an encampment living along a creek lost their site because of the floods. Many who are homeless prefer the peace and quiet of living near waterways to the congestion of downtown streets, despite such challenges as finding food or public bathrooms nearby. Populations living along waterways near the Santa Ana River in Orange County and the Los Angeles River that runs through the western part of the city were also displaced because of rising water, sometimes so quickly that people did not have enough time to keep their belongings from being washed out or washed away. While nonprofit leaders say occasional displacement is typical, the increased rains are making it harder to remain in any one place. One woman from the San Jose encampment said, “We have to move somewhere else, I don’t know where.”

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Source: The Guardian

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