Lane County Public Health, in partnership with the Eugene Planning and Development Department and the Oregon Public Health Institute, conducted a rapid HIA on an affordable housing policy outlined in the 2010 consolidated plan for the cities of Eugene and Springfield, focusing on impacts to children’s health. The plan describes a five-year vision for housing and community development and is required for local jurisdictions eligible to receive certain types of funding, such as Community Development Block Grants and HOME Investment Partnerships, from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The HIA was conducted to inform a 2015 update to the plan.
The HIA team reviewed literature to identify the three primary characteristics of housing that can affect health: housing quality, affordability, and location and neighborhood effects. The 2010 plan’s affordable housing policy sought to improve each of these primary characteristics, and boost related health determinants and outcomes such as homelessness and physical injuries. The team found that the 2010 plan was developed and implemented with limited involvement from public health stakeholders, even though the update and implementation processes are flexible and allow for this type of stakeholder involvement. The team made several recommendations for the process guiding the next consolidated plan, including using information from community health assessments to determine priorities and explicitly recognizing health as a desired outcome for housing strategies.
This project was funded by the Community Design Initiative of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a grant administered by the Oregon Health Authority’s Health Impact Assessment Program.