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Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2005 Nov;6(4):335-42.

Low-income housing policy and socioeconomic inequalities in women's health: the importance of nursing inquiry and intervention.

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College of Nursing, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA.


Decent, affordable housing is the building block of healthy neighborhoods. Housing characteristics not only shape the quality of life in communities but also affect individual and family health. The structural and social aspects of housing have a significant impact on the health of individuals and populations. Early public health nursing pioneers such as Lillian Wald and Jane E. Hitchcock understood the adverse impact of substandard housing on population health and incorporated advocacy for housing and other social policy reforms as an integral aspect of their nursing interventions. Contemporary nursing literature, however, is lacking in its critical examination of relationships between housing and health. This article presents historical and current issues in low-income housing policy, discusses how low-income housing policy has contributed to social inequalities in health, and advocates for the importance and inherent value of nursing inquiry and intervention in this area.

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