Housing need in Canada: Healthy lives start at home

Housing affects the health of children and youth. One-third of households in Canada live in substandard conditions or in housing need. The present statement reviews the literature documenting the impacts of housing on personal health and the health care system. Types of housing need are defined, including unsuitable or crowded housing, unaffordable housing and inadequate housing, or housing in need of major repairs. The health effects of each type of housing need, as well as of unsafe neighbourhoods, infestations and other environmental exposures are outlined. Paediatricians and other physicians caring for children need to understand the housing status of patients to fully determine their health issues and ability to access and engage in health care. Recommendations and sample tools to assess and address housing need at the patient, family, community and policy levels are described. Canada is the only G8 country without a national housing strategy. Recommendations also include advocating for enhanced action at all levels of government and for housing-supportive policies, including a national housing strategy.

Publication Date: 
Journal Name: 
Paediatrics & Child Health