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The Health Crisis for CHA Families

CHA Families and the Plan for Transformation Series

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Document date: August 11, 2010
Released online: August 11, 2010

Abstract

The HOPE VI Panel Study research has highlighted that many residents of distressed public housing face severe health challenges. At the baseline in 2001, HOPE VI Panel Study respondents from Chicago and the other four study sites were in far worse health than other low-income households. The 2003 and 2005 follow-ups showed this problem intensifying over time.

The 2009 follow-up of the CHA Panel Study shows that respondents' well-being has improved in important ways—they now live in housing that is substantially higher-quality and in neighborhoods that are dramatically safer. However, in this brief, we present findings that show that despite these improvements, respondents' health has continued to deteriorate rapidly; the level of reported health problems in 2009 are stunning, and the mortality rate is shockingly high.


The text below is an excerpt from the complete document. Read the full report in PDF format. Part of the CHA Families and the Plan for Transformation brief series.

Introduction

The HOPE VI Panel Study research has highlighted that many residents of distressed public housing face severe health challenges. In 2007, we argued that this problem was so serious that it should receive the same policy focus as unemployment (Manjarrez, Popkin, and Guernsey 2007; Popkin, Levy, and Buron 2009).

Because of the well-documented link between physical environment and wellbeing (see Lindberg et al. forthcoming), the HOPE VI Panel Study included a focus on resident health. At the baseline in 2001, HOPE VI Panel Study respondents from Chicago and the other four study sites were in far worse health than other low-income households, reporting high rates of overall poor health, as well as of asthma and depression (Popkin et al. 2002). The 2003 and 2005 follow-ups showed this problem intensifying over time: in 2005, two out of every five respondents (41 percent) in Madden/Wells and the other four sites rated their health as either "fair" or "poor." Further, at every age level, respondents were much more likely to describe their health as fair or poor than other adults overall and even than black women, a group with higher-than-average rates of poor health. Not only did respondents report high rates of disease, they were also clearly debilitated by their illnesses: one in four respondents reported having such difficultly with physical mobility that they could not walk three city blocks, climb 10 steps without resting, or stand on their feet for two hours (Manjarrez et al. 2007; Popkin 2010).

The 2009 follow-up of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Panel Study shows that respondents' well-being has improved in important ways—they now live in housing that is substantially higherquality and in neighborhoods that are dramatically safer than the Madden/Wells development (Buron and Popkin 2010; Popkin and Price 2010). However, in this brief, we present findings that show that despite these improvements, respondents' health has continued to deteriorate rapidly; reported health problems in 2009 are stunning, and the mortality rate is shockingly high. In our report on the 2005 follow-up (Manjarrez et al. 2007), we stated that the health situation was "so severe that it calls for urgent attention and new approaches to providing services to this extremely vulnerable population." Four years later, the urgency has only increased. The need for strong and effective action is now even more critical.

(End of excerpt. The full report is available in PDF format.)



Topics/Tags: | Children and Youth | Cities and Neighborhoods | Employment


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