Jul 19, 2018
The link between federal housing policy and public health has been understood since the nineteenth century, when housing activists first sought to abolish slums and create healthful environments. This article describes how the Obama administration—building on these efforts and those that followed, including the Great Society programs of President Lyndon Johnson—has adopted a cross-sector approach that takes health considerations into account when formulating housing and community development policy. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development fully embraces this “health in all policies” approach. Nonetheless, the administration’s strategy faces challenges, including fiscal and political ones. Some of these challenges may be overcome by conducting quality research on how housing and community development policies affect health outcomes, and by developing a federal budget strategy that takes into account how investments in one sector contribute to cost savings in another.