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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3133.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - 11:30 AM

Abstract #111271

Discrimination and inequities in housing policies and practices in privately-owned subsidized housing: A case example in public health nursing

Barbara J. Lutz, PhD, RN, College of Nursing, University of Florida, P.O. Box 100197, Gainesville, FL 32610-0197, 352-273-6350, bjlutz@nursing.ufl.edu

U.S. housing policy which supports a supply-side or market justice economic model, rather than a utilitarian or social justice framework, causes inherent problems for providing housing as a social good. The market justice model treats affordable housing as a proprietary commodity rather than a social responsibility. The policy provides tax-credits and rent subsidies for privately owned multi-family housing units when a select proportion of those units are reserved for section 8 and rural rental housing vouchers. Major assumptions of the model are that 1) renters with these vouchers have the freedom to choose the highest quality subsidized housing available, 2) such renters have the ability and capacity to select from multiple suitable housing options and locations, and 3) poor quality housing will not survive in the competitive marketplace. However, subsidized housing is becoming increasingly scarce and many eligible renters are frail elders, persons with disabilities, or members of other vulnerable and disenfranchised populations. These conditions increase the already significant power imbalance between low-income tenants and the owners/managers of privately-owned, subsidized units. This power imbalance promotes discriminatory and unfair housing practices, reduces opportunities for building ‘social capital' and a sense of community among residents, and ultimately, has a negative influence on the health of residents.

This presentation provides an example of the impact of market justice housing policies and practices on the elder and disabled residents of one subsidized housing complex. Impact on the overall community and the health of the residents, and implications for public health nursing will be discussed. Recommendations for interventions and policy changes will be provided.

Learning Objectives: At the end of the presentation, the participant will be able to

Keywords: Housing, Social Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Low Income Housing Policy: Issues of Social Justice, Social Capital, and Inequalities in Health

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA