A study by Debra Bricker, Veronica Helms, and Teresa Souza published in Housing Policy Debate examines the health and healthcare utilization among HUD-assisted adults with disabilities. The study, Health and Health Services Access Among Adults with Disabilities Who Receive Federal Housing Assistance, finds that HUD-assisted adults with disabilities make up a greater proportion of the HUD-assisted population than previously believed and face important health disparities.
HUD and other agencies currently lack information about the health needs of HUD-assisted tenants with disabilities. To examine these needs, the study’s authors linked survey data from the 2010-2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) with HUD administrative data. The linked data set allowed the authors to compare HUD-assisted adults with and without disabilities across 12 variables related to health and health services.
The authors found that people with disabilities accounted for 44% of HUD-assisted adults, which is significantly higher than previous estimates of 30% that relied solely on HUD administrative data. Compared to HUD-assisted tenants without disabilities, those with disabilities were significantly more likely to experience fair or poor health, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and asthma. HUD-assisted adults with disabilities were also more likely to have seen a general doctor, specialist, or mental health professional in the past year, or to have visited the emergency room two or more times in the past 12 months. HUD-assisted adults with disabilities were also more likely to have health insurance, but they still struggled to afford necessary healthcare services.
The authors’ findings affirm the need for better coordination between housing and health programs. The authors also recommend future research to evaluate the impact enhanced service coordination for people with disabilities has on health outcomes.
Health and Health Services Access Among Adults with Disabilities Who Receive Federal Housing Assistance is available at: http://bit.ly/2vIvWxp