200194 Examining Changes in Service Accessibility: The Spatial Proximity of Public Housing Residents to Health and Social Service Providers

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 8:30 AM

Kimberly A. Stringer, MA , KDH Research and Communication, Atlanta, GA
Holley A. Wilkin, PhD , Department of Communication, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Aims: The goals of Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE VI) are to increase residents' social capital and to decrease crime and violence associated with public housing communities. In cities like Atlanta, public housing structures that are deemed “severely distressed” are replaced with mixed-income developments and current residents provided vouchers for subsidized housing. This study explores whether forced relocation might decrease social capital by removing people from the resources they rely upon in their daily lives. Stress caused by moving can lead to health problems (e.g., hypertension, mental health, etc.) for which residents of public housing are already at high risk, and the ability to access health centers and services that assist them in reducing stress-causing situations (e.g., paying rent and utilities, affording transportation, finding new homes or jobs, etc.) will be increasingly important.

Methods: GIS mapping is used to compare how health and social service organizations, public transportation, and concentrations of poverty are spatially distributed in relation to former and current public housing developments and the locations of voucher housing in Atlanta, GA. Results: Seventy-six percent of the services mapped are located within a 1.5 mile radius of public housing complexes, while just 19% are located in areas of concentrated voucher housing. Areas of concentrated voucher housing have higher poverty levels and reduced access to public transportation. With spatial proximity a crucial determinant of service utilization, programs like HOPE VI and other policies that encourage people to become self-sufficient need to ensure that services remain connected to displaced clients.

Learning Objectives:
Identify areas of low access to health and social service organizations for displaced public housing residents. Discuss the importance of health and social service organizations remaining connected to displaced clients during and after relocation. Evaluate the effectiveness of HOPE VI programs at deconcentrating poverty.

Keywords: Access to Care, Public Housing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Abstract is part of Master's thesis for MA in Communication and graduate certificate in Public Health
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.