Investments with returns: a systematic literature review of health-focused housing interventions

Abstract

Housing access and the built environment are both recognized as significant social determinants of health. Numerous studies and articles detail housing-based interventions that result in improved health outcomes. However, less is known about potential financial impacts and which programs and initiatives not only improve health but also generate return on investment (ROI). Through a systematic literature review, the authors identified evidence regarding the economic benefits of housing interventions aimed at improving health, using ROI as a measure of program success. Specifically, housing interventions that are aimed at childhood asthma, HIV, chronic illness among the homeless, and urban blight have demonstrated a positive ROI ranging from 30 to 480%, with most cost savings attributed to meaningful reductions in hospitalizations and emergency department visits.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would especially like to thank Karyn Quinn, Michal Grinstein-Weiss, and Jane Oliphant for their valued contributions to the conceptualization of the project’s focus and methods, and Sam Hsu for support and contributions during the revision process.

Funding

The authors undertook the research and writing of this article with support from the Centene Center for Health Transformation, a partnership between Centene Corporation, Washington University in Saint Louis, and Duke University.

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Correspondence to Dan Ferris.

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Davison, G., Ferris, D., Pearson, A. et al. Investments with returns: a systematic literature review of health-focused housing interventions. J Hous and the Built Environ 35, 829–845 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-019-09715-6

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Keywords

  • Housing
  • Health
  • Social determinants of health
  • Return on investment