Online Program

Promoting healthy communities and reducing disparities through affordable housing policy: Applying Health Impact Assessment to the allocation of low income housing tax credits

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Elizabeth Fuller, DrPH, Georgia Health Policy Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Michelle Rushing, MPH, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Georgia Health Policy Center, Atlanta, GA
James E. Dills, MUP, MPH, Georgia Health Policy Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
There is a massive body of evidence indicating that health status is strongly influenced by an individual's home and neighborhood. Many references have been developed to describe healthy housing and healthy communities. Yet these resources are not consistently being applied in housing policy. The largest federal subsidy for rental housing is now the low income housing tax credit (LIHTC). It creates or preserves about 100k units nationally and about 2k in Georgia. Each state is responsible for setting its own allocation criteria. We used health impact assessment (HIA) to identify the most effective ways to promote health through Georgia's allocation plan that would be adopted by developers and policy makers. We selected 18 potential interventions based on the strength of evidence, leading causes of morbidity and mortality, and ease of implementation. Many were adopted into the policy, but one was controversial, and we learned that the health benefits or risks of particular behaviors and environments were misunderstood. Additionally, we conducted further study of two key elements that strike at the source of health disparities, access to quality education and access to healthy, successful communities. Education included locating in good school districts, increasing participation in early learning programs, and improving or creating educational resources. Healthy communities included locating in integrated, higher SES neighborhoods, supporting bridging social capital with the neighborhood, and promoting comprehensive revitalization of under invested neighborhoods. Our recommendations translated these health in all policies principles into standard policy language. The state housing agency adopted some recommendations and is studying others for future adoption.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain the HIA process List ways in which affordable housing policy is likely to impact health Explain the social determinants of health model Discuss and rank the health and socioeconomic impacts of the housing tax credt Compare stakeholder engagement approaches in housing policy Recommend health in all policies practices for housing policy

Keyword(s): Policy/Policy Development, Healthy Housing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I completed major portions of the stakeholder engagement, evidence review, analysis, policy recommendations, and external communications for this Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of the State of Georgia’s 2015 Qualified Allocation Plan for Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Previously, I conducted two comprehensive HIAs in the Atlanta region. I have provided technical assistance to four clients and led dozens of HIA workshops.
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.