Let’s Talk About Health & Housing

Porch Light Debates from ChangeLab Solutions

Baltimore | Denver | Alameda County | Local Government

C hangeLab Solutions presents the Porch Light Debates, a series of conversations illuminating issues at the intersection of health and housing practices. Written by leading practitioners, researchers, and scholars, these stories and articles advance the conversation about improving health equity through housing and community development strategies.

Uneven investment and racial segregation- two powerful forces in American communities- are driven by housing and community development policies and exacerbate health disparities. These forces affect the quality of life of millions of people, with the elderly, families with young children, and communities of color facing the greatest challenges and concomitant health problems.

It is time to address these forces head-on. Ensuring everyone has access to quality affordable housing in opportunity-rich neighborhoods makes people healthier, communities more inclusive, and society more just.

The Porch Light Debates provide nuanced conversations about the opportunities, limits, and innovations that surface when local institutions blend health, housing, and community development efforts. Three of the four debates feature a story from an institution: the Bon Secours Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, the Denver Public Housing Authority in Colorado, and the Alameda County Public Health Department in California.

Each institution reflects on the policies and practices they’re using to put safe, stable, and affordable housing within reach for their communities. They discuss how to co-create a vision of redevelopment and investment with residents, how to use existing resources in new and creative ways, and how to fight for policies to sustain the movement.

We then invited a variety of voices to respond to these stories and reflections. Our Community of Practice, comprised of experts from across the health and housing fields, discuss how effective policies can be replicated, identify challenges institutions face, and highlight opportunities to create meaningful change. Members of our Community of Practice developed the fourth and final debate, which addresses the constraints local governments face in this work and provides concrete ways to overcome those challenges.

The Porch Light Debates are intended to ignite the conversation about what it takes to make healthy and equitable housing a reality in this country. We invite you to join the conversation! Follow us here on Medium, on Facebook, or on Twitter to learn more and to get involved.