This project will address two questions about federal low-income housing assistance programs:


Does the value of housing assistance impact health outcomes of beneficiaries?


Does this impact vary across types of federal housing assistance programs?

Regarding the first question, one of the strategic goals of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to “utilize HUD assistance to improve health outcomes.” Yet research on how federal low-income housing programs impact health outcomes is limited. No study has been done to determine if the monetary value of housing assistance has an impact on health outcomes. This project will use a novel approach to calculate the monetary value of housing assistance and hypothesizes a positive relationship between the value of housing assistance and health outcomes.

The research will leverage the unique potential of a newly available dataset that links responses from the National Health Interview Survey from 1999-2012 with HUD administrative records from 1999-2014. These linked datasets are considered restricted-use data and are only available through the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Research Data Center. The project will use these data to measure both the explicit value (such as actual dollar amount of assistance) and implicit value (such as the difference between HUD rent contribution and the fair market rent) of housing assistance provided to households. It will introduce several methodological improvements to prior research intended to provide an unbiased estimate of the relationship between the monetary value of housing assistance and health outcomes. The researchers anticipate a sample size of about 59,000.

This work was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Policies for Action program.