Residents in our nation’s public housing developments live in conditions of concentrated poverty, unhealthy and unstable housing and community contexts, and weak social and economic opportunities, conditions which impede the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and adults. This mixed-methods study exploits a multi-arm natural experiment of public housing redevelopment to evaluate whether improving housing quality, limiting external displacement, and creating mixed-income communities improve the physical, mental, and behavioral health of public housing residents, including young children, youth, and adults. Data are being gathered from resident surveys and biological samples, environmental assessments, administrative data, and in-depth qualitative interviews over a 5-year period. Results will provide key insights into burgeoning economic health disparities, and inform policies and practices targeting our most disadvantaged neighborhoods.
We will address our research aims using a quasi-experimental mixed-methods longitudinal study following 1068 individuals (children, youth, adults, and older adults) in 600 households across 5 years of community redevelopment. We will collect four waves of surveys, combined with unique, validated direct environmental assessments, physiological stress measures, and annual in-depth qualitative interviews and geocoded administrative data. This innovative combination of sources will provide data on societal policies, community characteristics, interpersonal processes, and individual health outcomes. We will test our specific aims using rigorous analytic techniques to evaluate the effects of housing quality, displacement, and mixed-income communities on resident physical, behavioral, and mental health across the lifespan.
This project is funded by a 5-year grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health.