Housing & Health

Posted on 11/30/18 by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health


Housing affordability is a major concern for many Los Angeles County residents. Housing constitutes the single largest monthly expense for most people, and among homeowners, their homes are often their largest financial assets.

Given the high cost of housing in Los Angeles County, many residents spend a sizable portion of their incomes on housing every month and are susceptible to significant housing burden, which is defined as housing expenses totaling 30% or more of monthly income. Housing burden disproportionately affects low income individuals, renters, and communities of color, many of whom in fact experience severe housing burden, meaning that their housing costs total 50% or more of their monthly incomes. Housing burden can negatively impact health by causing significant stress and limiting the amount of money people have available to spend on other life necessities, such as food or healthcare. Housing burden can increase the risk for homelessness as well. The high cost of housing can also affect health by prohibiting access to high quality housing, which can often be too expensive. Living in poor quality housing can increase exposure to environmental hazards, such as lead, molds, and cockroaches. Lead exposure during childhood is a particular concern as it can adversely impact brain development. Exposure to molds and cockroaches can worsen underlying respiratory conditions, such as asthma in children.

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