The Ups and Downs of Housing: How Housing Rehabilitation and Foreclosure Affect Health

Surprisingly little is known about how housing policy and neighborhood features impact health. This study will examine two housing policies in New York City­—one focused on the physical characteristics of housing, and the second focused on the conditions of neighborhoods.

The New York City Housing Authority recently received funds to rehabilitate many of its most distressed public housing developments, and the NYU Furman Center has compiled data on the allocation of these funds. The researchers will map this data to the New York State Medicaid data to assess if those who lived in renovated housing saw improvements in health outcomes relative to those whose housing was not renovated. The researchers will also look at the timing of the refurbishment to make inferences about the effects of the housing improvements.

Regarding neighborhood conditions, the NYU Furman Center conducted research demonstrating that home foreclosures contribute to increases in crime. Linking this foreclosure data to the Medicaid data will enable us to compare the health of residents living in a high-foreclosure block to residents living elsewhere.

Finally, the researchers will develop a measure of housing-sensitive health conditions using predicative analytics, and test them by examining how policy changes impact outcomes.