At the Housing Action Illinois annual conference next week in Bloomington, every workshop and attendee will address some aspect of our housing dilemma. This multi-layered, decades-long disgrace deserves as many heads working together as possible.
I look forward to Dr. Megan Sandel of Children’s Healthwatch keynote address on The Value of Homes for Health. Housing Action Illinois Keynote address and plenary sessions.
Where you live affects your entire life. When it’s hard to make ends meet, families face an impossible choice between paying rent and buying medicine or visiting the doctor. Being behind on mortgage payments can lead to chronic stress and depression, and living in a home with lead paint or cockroaches can lead to serious physical health concerns. Children are especially affected by where they live; having a good home is linked to their socio-emotional maturity, asthmatic symptoms, and long-term developmental delays.
While housing insecurity puts children and families at risk for a wide range of health and developmental complications, the foundation of a quality, stable, affordable home can act like a vaccine. Living near a park can make it easier to exercise, and having a grocery store nearby can make it easier to buy and cook fresh produce. During our keynote address, Dr. Megan Sandel will explore how good homes can be a powerful upstream intervention tool in creating healthy, thriving communities. She will use a framework of equity rather than equality to discuss long-lasting, effective changes that we need in housing, and how these efforts are amplified when integrated with health, education, and criminal justice reform.
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