DISCUSSION: What we know about Health and Housing Hardware

May 20th, 2021

Closing the Gap Clearinghouse produced a document in 2013 talking on the value of health hardware. Its content has re-appeared in the 2020 17th biennial health report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The Document includes some parts of what we know works & doesn’t work in housing and proving the link between housing and health through the robust ongoing collection of data and focus on health hardware.



‘Housing Strategies that improve Indigenous health outcomes’ 2013 is still highly valuable reading, with the content reiterated in ‘Australia’s health 2020: data insights’.



As outlined in ‘Housing strategies that improve Indigenous health outcomes’ (Dec 2013):

We know:Housing is a key social determinant of health’

We know what works:  ‘High-quality, well-maintained health hardware such as taps, toilets, showers and sinks, coupled with attention to safety of a house, can make a major positive impact on Indigenous health for any age group.’

We know what doesn’t work: ‘Using low-quality materials and construction to generate initial cost savings increases the costs of maintenance and housing replacement in the longer term.’

We know what we don’t know: ‘Although some very clear associations between housing and health are evident, it is very difficult to demonstrate a causal relationship between the two.’

In 2013, The Closing the Gap Clearinghouse published a resource sheet ‘Constructing and maintaining houses (Pholeros & Phibbs 2012), examining how the quality of housing impacts health outcomes with a focus on health hardware.

Australia’s health 2020: data insights by AIHW nine years on documents ‘Two of the critical factors connecting housing conditions to health are the impact of crowding and the state of domestic health hardware.’ 

It directly links preventable and treatable diseases such as Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease to ‘crowding, socioeconomic deprivation, and inadequate access to health hardware….’

The robust collection of the Housing for Health data reiterates and proves the importance of housing maintenance from the proven strong link between housing and health.