Health

The fourth installment of Shelterforce's Health and Community Development supplement.The health of individuals and the health of communities are linked in so many ways, from zoning to access to fresh food, safe housing, safe streets and parks, and proper medical care. How is this growing realization affecting practice for both community development organizations and health care organizations? What does it take for these two separate worlds to partner toward shared goals? Thanks to the Kresge and Robert Wood Johnson foundations, and Kaiser Permanente for supporting our health and communities coverage, and to our Health and Community Development Editorial Advisory Board for their guidance, knowledge, and insights. Click here to view and download a PDF of our health supplements.

A Childlike drawing of a yellow house with a multicolored roof, cactuses in front, and a tree with Christmas lights in front.

Housing Quality Is Key to Mental Health

Living in substandard housing affects your mental health as well, several studies have found.
bridge watercolor

Mental Health and Community Development

The community development and mental health fields have a critical opportunity to work together in supporting the mental health of low-income communities.
Arrowhead Grove in San Bernardino, California.

Hospital System Helps Housing Partners Unlock Capital

When plans to develop affordable housing units in San Bernardino hit a funding roadblock, Dignity Health committed a $1.2 million bridge loan to help fill the gap. But the health system didn’t stop there.
Seniors at a workshop on creating winter bird feeders

Vermont’s SASH Program Keeps Seniors in their Homes

The statewide program connects elderly residents with community-based services and saves money in urban areas by reducing emergency room and specialist visits.
Kids dance at a neighborhood street festival

What Happens When a CDC Pivots to a Health-First Focus?

Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation in Cleveland finds that being an early adopter of a community health focus has its advantages.
Avalon Trace was renamed Cottage Gardens after the 176-unit complex was sold to a new owner in 2018.

Condemning Asthma, Not Homes in North Carolina

An apartment complex in North Carolina generated 120 times as many hospital visits as would have been expected for its population, until a creative coalition forced its sale and worked with the new owner to change things.

Transforming Vacant Land Into Community Assets

Vacant land activities can be low cost and high impact; the price of failure is not steep, but the return on investment can be high.
A once-vacant lot in Philadelphia that has been cleaned.

Greening Vacant Lots: Low Cost, Big Effect in Philly

A Philadelphia program is cleaning up abandoned lots, helping formerly incarcerated residents get jobs, and improving the overall health and well-being of neighborhoods.

The Mission: End Childhood Lead Poisoning in Rochester

In the 1990s, Rochester, New York, had an alarmingly large number of children who had elevated lead levels in their blood. Decades later, the rate has decreased by 85 percent. This is how a local coalition made it happen.
The third installment of Shelterforce's Health and Community Development supplement.

Fall 2018 — Health and Community Development Supplement

In our third supplement, we focus on a coalition's work to lower the number of asthma-related hospital visits from an apartment complex, and how sitting on a porch can be good for your health.
Image name: Lucy Corr Caption: Oral health practitioners at the Lucy Corr Dental Clinic in Virginia specialize in serving older adults. Credit: Photo courtesy of the Lucy Corr Dental Clinic

Seniors Cannot Age in Place Without Access to Oral Health Services

Maintaining good health—including good oral health—as long as possible is a critical component of aging in place.
fast food signs

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—Oct. 12

News from—and affecting—the community development world. This week: fast food swamps, Seattle has too many apartments, criminal justice, basic income pilot, more.
Residents of four historically African-American neighborhoods hold up a sign that reads "This Land is Our Land! #TentCityATL"

The Right to Stay Put

There is much work to be done around housing and equitable development, but the solution is not simply to move people around. A key challenge is creating real choice.
porch party

Sitting on a Porch Can Be Good for Your Health

To help combat isolation and reweave the connecting fabric that had been lost, a neighborhood arts center launches an initiative that eventually became a movement.
physician takes blood pressure

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—Sept. 21

News from—and affecting—the community development world.
peeling paint windowsill

Is a Home with Lead Hazards Really “Affordable”?

The cost of housing is not simply the mortgage, rent, and utilities, but the individual and community health, education, and social costs associated with low-quality, unstable, and unhealthy housing.
Alicia Spradlin and her daughter Faith live in apartments that have been set-aside for UnitedHealthcare Community Plan members.

Setting Aside Housing for Frequent Health Care Users

Housing specifically for those who frequently use health care services makes sense on many levels, but it also raises questions about privacy and lining up who pays and who benefits.
block party

Loneliness Kills; Community Developers Can Help

Some social determinants of health are concrete and physical. A substandard house with mold and pests, for example, will lead to more asthma and...
Children play on an Irish Traveller site on Dale Farm in 2011. A young boy with glasses rubs his eyes outside in Dale Farm, which was once the site of the largest Irish Traveller concentration until families were evicted in 2011. A health impact assessment helped house this indigenous group.

How a Health Impact Assessment Helped House Irish Travellers

An HIA that focused on Irish Traveller housing programs proves successful because it empowered the population.
A hemodialysis machine in a bedroom.

A Bad Mix: Utility Shut-Offs and Chronic Illnesses

In most states, a household can avoid or delay termination of its utility service due to overdue balances if the shut-off would significantly impact their health. But the process isn’t as simple as it may seem