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Am J Prev Med. 2003 Apr;24(3 Suppl):47-67.

Providing affordable family housing and reducing residential segregation by income. A systematic review.

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  • 1Division of Prevention Research and Analytic Methods, Epidemiology Program Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA.


The inadequate supply of affordable housing for low-income families and the increasing spatial segregation of some households by income, race, ethnicity, or social class into unsafe neighborhoods are among the most prevalent community health concerns related to family housing. When affordable housing is not available to low-income households, family resources needed for food, medical or dental care, and other necessities are diverted to housing costs. Two housing programs intended to provide affordable housing and, concurrently, reduce the residential segregation of low-income families into unsafe neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, are reviewed: the creation of mixed-income housing developments and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 8 Rental Voucher Program. The effectiveness of mixed-income housing developments could not be ascertained by this systematic review because of a lack of comparative research. Scientific evidence was sufficient to conclude that rental voucher programs improve household safety as measured by reduced exposure to crimes against person and property and decreased neighborhood social disorder. Effectiveness of rental voucher programs on youth health risk behaviors, mental health status, and physical health status could not be determined because too few studies of adequate design and execution reported these outcomes.

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