We know that housing is a cornerstone of a healthy community.
People who live in healthy, affordable places live longer,
healthier lives. Housing enables people to build roots in a
community – get to know their neighborhoods, build a social
network of support and become civically engaged.
The San Mateo County Health System helps county residents and
workers live longer and better lives. We do this by
providing excellent healthcare services; but also work to reduce
people’s need for these services by creating healthy places with
safe housing, sidewalks, good transit, nutritious food, open
space, and a vibrant economy. When we succeed in creating healthy
places, however, housing costs tend to increase—sometimes pushing
out the very people whose health we are trying to improve.
Research shows that housing unaffordability, insecurity and
displacement can impact health in the following ways:
Unhealthy Tradeoffs: When housing costs are
high, working families have to make difficult choices.
Mental Health Impacts: The emotional toll of
displacement and living with the threat of displacement is
significant, affecting mental wellbeing, sense of belonging and
Effects on Children and Families: The health
impacts of housing instability are particularly intense for
children, causing behavioral problems, educational delays,
depression, low birth weights, and other health conditions such
Long Commutes, Air Quality, Congestion and
Health: Without adequate housing near job centers,
many low- and moderate income Bay Area employees must commute
long distances to work, worsening congestion and air quality
for Bay Area communities.