Our Homes, Our Health, Our Futures

Abstract painting of a sea of houses depict a dense neighborhood seen from an arial view; roofs are yellows, oranges, deep reds and maroons, with splashes of pink and blue for windows and trim.
After many years of successful work on health and housing, HIP is scaling up and formalizing our Housing Justice Program to meet the moment.

Announcing HIP’s new Housing Justice Program

At HIP, after many years of successful work on health and housing, we’re scaling up and formalizing our Housing Justice Program to meet this moment. We’re guided by two truths that the pandemic further underscored — lessons that I believe our field needs to build a drumbeat around:

1. When we keep our families and neighbors stably housed, we save lives.

States that kept their eviction moratoria in place had half the infections and one fifth of the deaths of those that lifted them. And newer research indicates that beyond preventing COVID infections, emergency pandemic housing protections improved mental health outcomes, food security, self-reported health, and racial health equity. When we pass policies to keep people stably housed on a mass scale, we save lives and improve health. Full stop.

2. When we choose to, we can do what we need to to protect each other.

Even when it is difficult and challenges the immense political power of the real estate industry or the racism rooted so deeply in our housing policies. Organizers fought for and won emergency pandemic housing protections that kept many millions of us safe. Many of these protections are things that seemed “politically unthinkable” several years ago. Housing justice movements proved that basic housing protections are possible, that they work, and that they save lives. And that grassroots power itself is essential for our collective wellbeing.

Leveraging Public Health to Advance Housing and Health for All

Those of us in the public health field have a crucial role to play in framing out housing policy decisions with this question. In leveraging all our knowledge, political power, data, resources and skills to help make housing a basic right for all people. And in sharing and building our power with grassroots movements.

Our Focus

Starting this year, we’ll be narrowing our focus and energies to take on just a few broad campaigns at a time. We’ll be working trans-locally, pursuing research, organizing, and other strategies that are grounded in specific local/state struggles, but serve to cross-pollinate, amplify, and support movements across place–aiming to move the national conversation about what is necessary and possible.

  • Expanding Renters’ Rights, such as baseline tenant protections like rent control, just eviction, etc.
  • Advancing Community Stewardship to take land and housing permanently off the speculative market, and into community stewardship through land trusts, limited equity cooperatives, public housing, social housing, and other models

Our Framework

We will approach this work through lenses of racial and climate justice, recognizing how inextricably linked our homes and neighborhoods are to racial reckoning and liberation, and the necessity of stopping climate change and adapting to the storms, fires, and heat waves that increasingly threaten us and our homes. In subsequent years, we will deepen work on these areas.

Our Strategies

We’re doubling down on what we’ve heard is working, in particular our strong research partnerships with housing justice organizations. We also know that the existing research linking housing and health is already strong, so we’ll be expanding our work to make these connections common knowledge, and positioning public health practitioners to be strong spokespeople for housing justice.

Radical uncertainty, radical possibility

Ellie is just about to turn three. When she moves into her first apartment, I want her to live in a world where she knows she won’t have to skip meals to pay rent and that she won’t be arbitrarily forced to leave. I don’t want her to ever worry about lead in her children’s blood, smoke in their lungs, or mold in the walls. I think we can get there. Some systemic shifts take many decades. Others come pouring down like rain.

Learn more about HIP’s Housing Justice Program

  • Housing and Health for All: A Research and Communications Toolkit for COVID-19 and Beyond — Check out our latest Housing Justice research and communications toolkit for advocates to leverage public health data for long-term housing justice. The toolkit includes research-based talking points that you use to bolster the ongoing shared work of housing and health sectors’ advocacy in building a more just and healthy future.
  • Connect with us! Are you a public health practitioner trying to figure out your best role in housing justice? A health department who is housing-curious? An organizer who needs some data or backup at an upcoming city council meeting? Get in touch! This work needs all of us, and we’d love to strategize, campaign, research, and win alongside you. Contact me at will@humanimpact.org.

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Human Impact Partners

Human Impact Partners

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Bringing the power of public health to campaigns and movements for a just society