REVIEW: Closing the gap, 10 and 20 year review of Housing for Health data
National Close the Gap Day was celebrated in the middle of March 2021, a chance for Healthabitat to revisit important research and reports of its work aimed at ‘Closing the Gap’.
Two important documents; one published 10 years ago and the another in 2020 illustrate the link between housing and health from the Housing for Health programs’ data.
1998-2009 evaluation of Housing for Health in NSW.
Ten years ago, ‘Closing the gap: 10 Years of Housing for Health in NSW – An evaluation of a healthy housing intervention 1998-2009’ was produced by the NSW Department of Health which linked Housing for Health and hospital separations. This data showed a 40% reduction in hospital admissions from specific diseases affected by environmental conditions in communities where a Housing for Health program has been run.
Ten years on a high level analysis of 20 years of Housing for Health data in NSW has been produced and published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health; Prioritising Housing Maintenance to Improve Health in Indigenous Communities in NSW over 20 years.
The data in this report illustrates the measurable improvements to housing and health over the 20 years of Housing for Health projects. It also illustrates that whilst clear improvements have been made, housing conditions inevitably slide backwards when sustained ongoing maintenance programs are lacking.
Preventative repairs and maintenance programs such as the annual Housing for Health inspired Maintaining Houses for Better Health (MHBH) model being trialled by Community Housing Central Australia (CHCA) in partnership with it’s tenants is a notable step towards maintaining the improvements from an initial Housing for Health project, for the long term health benefits for all residents.
Regular preventative repair and maintenance programs are the best way to ensure tenants have effective working health hardware in their homes.
Both Housing for Health documents mentioned above are open source with more in-depth reading can be found in previous blogs below.