Health interventions needed for SGL parent households in urban subsidized housing programs
Billions of dollars are spent annually to support single-parent families in low-income urban communities—most often for affordable housing—yet little is known about the relationship between health and well-being of housing program participants and life in violent neighborhoods in US cities.
A study led by the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) found that single parents who participate in a housing support program in an urban setting with high levels of community violence had significant symptoms of stress and depression. Parents report high levels of stress resulting from competing priorities, expectations that they attain financial self-sufficiency through concurrent employment and higher education, and concern for their children's safety. Reports of children's emotional symptoms, conduct problems, peer problems and poorer emotional-behavioral health were significantly higher for children with parents who had moderate-severe depression symptoms when compared to those whose parents had lower levels of depression symptoms. Results point to the need for further research and programmatic and policy interventions that support the overall health of housing unstable families who live in low-resource neighborhoods with high levels of violence. The research is set for publication in an upcoming issue of Health and Social Care in the Community, but is available online now.