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Investments in housing are investments in health: Ontario’s Doctors

Toronto, August 14, 2013 – Ontario’s doctors call for greater investments in housing programs and comprehensive housing policies to improve the health of our patients.

Unsafe and unaffordable housing is tied to poor health outcomes, and current programs that provide housing assistance are simply not sufficient to protect health.

“As doctors, we see patients regularly who don’t have access to safe and affordable housing. The impact on their health is significant,” said Dr. Scott Wooder, president of the Ontario Medical Association. “Secure housing both prevents illness and improves patients’ recovery. Housing-supportive policies are good investments that pay significant health dividends.”

The direct link between housing and health means that any cuts to programs that support housing have hidden health costs. Housing status impacts all Ontarians, but seniors and those with mental illness are especially vulnerable. For the many seniors who have complex health needs, affordable housing is crucial to prolonging their physical and mental health. Often, those on fixed incomes have to choose between paying for food, heating or rent, and such choices have direct health impacts. Insecure or inappropriate housing can cause the onset of illness, and likewise, secure housing has a very significant impact on recovery from a wide range of mental and physical illnesses.

Ontario’s doctors urge all levels of government to redouble their efforts, act quickly on the evidence available, and make appropriate policy and funding decisions to improve the health of Ontarians by ensuring those who need it are more adequately housed.

Link to OMR article, The Health Impacts of Housing: