Healthy Communities of Opportunity: An Equity Blueprint to Address America’s Housing Challenges

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It has long been obvious that a lead-laden home or a house located by a toxic dump impacts health. The implications of a house far from fresh food or a safe place to exercise can also seem apparent. Less understood are other factors. For example, paying more than half of one’s salary for a home, living in crowded conditions to save on rent, the tension and worry of being in and out of homelessness or in high-crime environments all take a toll. So, too, does living in a community isolated from jobs, job-connecting networks, and reliable public transportation. As this report reveals, housing, health, and economic security together shape the opportunity landscape in America, which in turn are shaped by the nation’s structural, economic, and racial barriers.

The Kresge Foundation and PolicyLink embarked on this project to lift up fresh ideas, new collaborations, groundbreaking strategies, and the many opportunities for united action and policy change to advance healthy housing. Across America, grassroots leaders, policymakers, philanthropists, community builders, and advocates are addressing health and housing concurrently, comprehensively, and creatively with promising results. The work connects health and housing across the spectrum—from disinvested communities of concentrated poverty, to the rapidly changing neighborhoods where longtime residents live under the shadow of displacement, to the high-opportunity communities with quality schools and services.

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This paper offers a roadmap to face these challenges and secure the nation’s future.

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The Philanthropic Sector
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

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