HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 06-121
Donna White
(202) 708-0685

For Release
September 25, 2006

Study shows public housing residents are in extremely poor health

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is partnering with Howard University's Center for Urban Progress and the District of Columbia Housing Authority to address the poor health of public housing residents. On Tuesday, Sept. 26, the partners will co-sponsor the first Health and Public Housing Symposium on Howard University's campus.

"One of the most important findings is that mental and physical chronic illnesses, and the functional disabilities as a result of these health conditions, are barriers to self-sufficiency and general well-being," said HUD Assistant Secretary Orlando Cabrera, who heads up the Office of Public and Indian Housing. "The goal of this symposium and future ones is to give our PHA partners the information they need to connect their residents with professional healthcare providers."

A 2004 study from the Urban Institute indicates that public housing residents have a significantly higher incidence of chronic illnesses such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression than the national population. Unfortunately, most local public housing agencies (PHAs) are not equipped to address these critical heath problems.

The daylong symposium will bring together public housing agencies and resident leaders in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia; national and local healthcare service providers, including clinics; and health-related organizations to discuss how they can work together to improve the health conditions of public housing residents. This is the first of a series of such forums to be held in cities across the country as part of HUD’s Public Housing Health Initiative (PHHI).

Symposium presenters include healthcare experts from the Urban Institute who uncovered the poor state of health among public housing residents with a series of studies of residents who live in revitalized public housing communities. They will share the Institute's findings and explore remedies. Participants will also hear from numerous local health providers. The day will end with all of the participants coming together to develop strategies for combating the problem.

For several years HUD has worked closely with federal healthcare agencies and those that deliver health services to low-income families. Those meetings resulted in the creation of the Health and Public Housing Inter-Agency Task Force, which includes representatives from HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, the Department of Labor and the Social Security Administration.

The next PHHI forum for the southern region will be Friday, Sept. 29, in Memphis, Tenn., at the Urban Child Institute. As the forums progress, HUD will compile information about health services to develop a comprehensive guide that will give PHAs the tools they need to form partnerships with local existing healthcare providers.

The Howard University Center for Urban Progress, which opened in 1995, is an interdisciplinary center that was launched to address critical urban issues - locally, nationally, and globally - through the development of academic programs and community leadership training, applied research activities, technical assistance and direct project implementation.

HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) is responsible for managing and administering a range of programs, including the two largest federal rental assistance programs - public housing and the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8). Combined the programs serve more than 3.2 million low-income families in the U.S. PIH also monitors the operations of the nation's approximately 3,400 public housing authorities that manage the country's more than 1.2 million public housing units and administer other HUD programs. PIH also manages the Office of Native American Programs, which is responsible for the implementation and administration of programs specific to Native American housing and economic development. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and

For Media:
Armour J. Blackburn Center on Howard University campus at 2400 6th St. N.W., Wash, D.C. 20059
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Content Archived: May 06, 2010