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Housing & Health Research Program

Housing is well known as a major determinant of health, and although there is substantial associational or anecdotal evidence to link housing with health outcomes, there is a significant absence in Australia of knoweldge around the mechanisms by which housing affects the health and wellbeing outcomes of individuals and their households.  Addressing this evidence base is a key area of research for CHURP.

The Housing and Health Research Program, led by Emma Baker focuses on policy-relevant and robust evidence on the effects of housing on the health and wellbeing of Australians and their households.

Some Recent Findings of Note

  • That health and wellbeing effects of unaffordable housing are substantially greater for households with lower incomes.
  • Evidence of a mismatch between individual health and wellbeing needs, and availability and form of housing assistance.
  • That unaffordable housing affects the mental health of individuals, over and above the effects of general financial harship.
  • The more time individuals spend with housing problems, the greater the cumulative health effect.

Recently Completed, Ongoing & Planned Projects

  • Pathways to Health & Wellbeing through Housing, funded by the ARC. More information can be found on the Housing & Health Project page.
  • Revealing the hidden health effects of housing in Australia: An initial evidence base on health effects among poorly housed Australians, funded by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Adelaide.
  • New directions in health inequalities research: Understanding the intersection between housing, employment and health in Australia, funded by the ARC and Homestart.
  • Housing Assistance and the Life Course: Understanding the Impact of Policy Alternatives, funded by the ARC.
  • The Importance of Gender and Socio Economic Disadvantage for the Health of People Living with Disabilities, funded by the ARC.
  • Mitigating negative health outcomes of vulnerable and precarious housing, funded by Vichealth. 

Recent Publications About Housing & Health

  • Baker, E, Bentley, R, Mason, K (2012) 'The mental health effects of housing tenure: Casual or compositional? Link to external website' Urban Studies, published online 7 June 2010.
  • Bentley, R, Baker, E, Mason, K (2012) 'Cumulative exposure to poor housing affordability and its association with mental health in men and women', Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 66 (9), pp. 761-6.
  • Baker, E, Bentley, R, Mason, K, Mallet, S (forthcoming) 'Exploring the bi-directional relationship between health and housing in Australia', Urban Policy and Research.
  • Mason, K, Bentley, R, Baker, E (2012) 'Housing affordability and mental health: Does the relationship differ for renters and homeowners?', paper presented to the Australian Housing Researchers Conference, Adelaide.
  • Bentley, R, Baker, E, Mason, K, Subramanian, S, V, and Kavanagh A, M (2011) 'Association between housing affordability and mental health: A longitudinal analysis of a nationally representative household survey in Australia', American Journal of Epidemiology, 174 (7): 753-60.
  • Beer, A, Baker, E, Wood, G and Raftery, P (2011) 'Housing policy, housing assistance and the wellbeing dividend: Developing an evidence base for post GFC economies', Housing Studies, 26 (7-8), pp. 1171-92.
Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning (CHURP)

Department of Geography, Environment and Population
School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts
Room G46, Ground Floor
Napier Building

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T: +61 8 8313 5646

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