Examining Housing as a Determinant of Health: Closing the ‘Poverty Gap’ to Improve Outcomes for Women in Affordable Housing
Milaney Katrina1, *, Bell Meaghan2, Ramage Kaylee3, Screpnechuk Christina4, Petruik Courtney5
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2022
E-location ID: e187494452202080
Publisher ID: e187494452202080
Article History:Received Date: 23/8/2021
Revision Received Date: 5/11/2021
Acceptance Date: 25/12/2021
Electronic publication date: 27/04/2022
Collection year: 2022
open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Access to housing is an important social determinant of health and has a positive influence on health outcomes. In one large municipal city in Western Canada, over 12,000 units of affordable housing are available to support low-income individuals.
However, little is known about resident experiences living in affordable housing, how affordable housing affects their movements through the housing continuum (i.e., from housing instability to stability), how affordable housing affects their lives and the lives of their families, and how gender factors into these questions.
The current study, part of the larger quantitative project, involved a survey with 160 residents of affordable housing units in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
The results show that few gender differences exist in demographic factors such as age, income, and ethnicity. However, important differences exist in the experiences of women versus men, including employment status, barriers to employment, parenting, trajectory of affordable housing residency, and reasons for accessing affordable housing in the first place.
We argue that gendered supports to reduce barriers to sustainable employment must be embedded in affordable housing programs and coupled with low or no cost childcare and supports to heal from trauma in order to break cycles of dependency for women and their children. This research builds on the scant Canadian literature that examines characteristics and experiences in affordable housing using a gender-lens.