Beyond the problem of an estimated 600,000 Americans being homeless each night (and 1.5 million in any given year), homelessness or unstable housing is strongly correlated with high rates of chronic illness, unmet healthcare needs and mortality. Inadequate housing impedes access to health care and an ability to stay healthy such as caring for injuries or disease and taking medications. For the chronically homeless mortality is four to nine times higher than for the general population. Though current federal Medicaid rules do not allow states to provide supportive housing, it appears the health care industry is nevertheless beginning to close the gap between health care and housing by recognizing and addressing the fact it is a key social determinate of health.
During this 20 minute interview Ms. Morely discusses the work of the National Center for Healthy Housing, the magnitude of the housing "famine," how housing serves as a health care "vaccine," why health care providers have been slow to recognize its importance as a key social determinate of health and opportunities to better intergrate supportive housing and health care.
Rebecca Morley is the Executive Director of the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), a national non-profit dedicated to creating healthy and safe housing for children. Among other
things Rebecca spearheaded NCHH's recovery work in the Gulf Coast after hurricanes Katrina and Rita and she led the development of the National Health Homes Training Center. She is the author of numerous publications including the new book, "Healthy & Safe Homes: Research, Practice and Policy." Before joining NCHH, Ms. Morley worked with ICF Consulting on affordable housing and related issues, at HUD as a Presidential Management Fellow and as a Legislative Fellow for Senator Jack Reed. She serves on numerous boards and commissions including Health Housing Solutions. Ms. Morley was graduated from Nazareth College (in Rochester, NY) with an undergraduate degree in environmental science and from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a master's in public policy.
For more on the National Center for Healthy Housing go to: http://www.nchh.org/