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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Is Child Health at Risk While Families Wait for Housing Vouchers?
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Although the link between substandard housing and poor health has been recognized for more than a century, research now demonstrates significant associations between cockroach allergen and asthma, between lead paint and chronic neurologic damage, between substandard homes and fatal fires, and between unaffordable rent and inadequate childhood nutrition and growth.

Families who live in housing units subsidized through the federal Section 8 program are protected by annual inspections that document adherence to strict housing codes and spend about 30% of their income on rent. However, the average waiting time for Section 8 was 28 months in 1998, with more than 660000 families on 18 sampled metropolitan waiting lists. To our knowledge, the child health implications of waiting for housing assistance have not been studied. (Authors)