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Affordable Housing and Health: A Health Impact Assessment on Physical Inspection Frequency

Klein, Elizabeth G. PhD, MPH; Keller, Brittney MPH; Hood, Nancy PhD; Holtzen, Holly PhD

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: July/August 2015 - Volume 21 - Issue 4 - p 368–374
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000138
Original Articles

Objectives: To characterize the prevalence of health-related housing quality exposure for the vulnerable populations that live in affordable housing.

Design: Retrospective cross-sectional study.

Setting: Affordable housing properties in Ohio inspected between 2007 and 2011.

Participants: Stratified random sample of physical inspection reports (n = 370), including a case study of properties receiving multiple inspections (n = 35).

Main Outcome Measures: Health-related housing factors, including mold, fire hazard, and others.

Results: The majority of affordable housing property inspections (85.1%) included at least 1 health-related housing quality issue. The prevalence of specific health-related violations was varied, with appliance and plumbing issues being the most common, followed by fire, mold, and pest violations. Across funding agencies, the actual implementation of inspection protocols differed.

Conclusions: The majority of physical inspections identified housing quality issues that have the potential to impact human health. If the frequency of physical inspections is reduced as a result of inspection alignment, the most health protective inspection protocol should be selected for funding agency inspections; a standardized physical inspection tool is recommended to improve the consistency of inspection findings between mandatory physical inspections in order to promote optimum tenant health.

This study describes the prevalence of health-related housing quality exposure for the vulnerable populations that live in affordable housing properties in Ohio inspected between 2007 and 2011.

Health Behavior & Health Promotion (Dr Klein and Ms Keller), Ohio State University College of Public Health, Columbus; Impact Supportive Services, CPO Management, Columbus, Ohio (Dr Hood); and Research and Strategic Planning, Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Columbus (Dr Holtzen).

Correspondence: Elizabeth G. Klein, PhD, MPH, Health Behavior & Health Promotion, Ohio State University College of Public Health, Columbus, OH 43210 (eklein@cph.osu.edu).

This health impact assessment is supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The authors thank Alex Nelson for assistance with data collection and coding.

The authors do not have any competing interests to disclose. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of the State of Ohio or the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.