What could be more basic to good health than Safe Housing? Safe Housing refers to housing that has access to electricity, heat, and running water and does not jeopardize the health, safety, or welfare of its occupants. Unfortunately, for too many people living in the US, Safe Housing is a dream rather than a reality. And, with eviction moratoriums set to expire in many states across the country, the health and well-being of families will soon be at risk.
If you, or someone you know, finds themselves in this position, you may think about calling your Congress person for help preventing an eviction. Or, for unsafe housing, you may think of calling the police.
But… what if you could call your doctor?!
Now you may be asking yourself, “How can healthcare professionals help improve housing conditions?”
Through medical-legal partnerships, lawyers train doctors and other healthcare professionals to screen patients for unsafe housing conditions. Doctors then refer the patient to the medical-legal partnership for legal help to improve their living conditions. This can often take the form of preventing utility shut-offs, bringing substandard housing up to code, and removal of lead-based paint. These improved living conditions can directly affect a patient’s health in a positive way.