Informal Housing Provision, Health, and Inequality

Awarded Scholars:
Danya Keene, Yale University
Project Date:
Nov 2020
Award Amount:

The U.S. has experienced a severe affordable rental housing shortage that is likely to have negative health consequences as individuals spend a higher share of their income on rent, settle for poor quality and hazardous housing, or experience homelessness. Previous research has focused on how an individual’s housing affects their own health, but limited housing availability may also affect health and wellbeing through the strain that it places on families and other social relations who house or support those with limited housing opportunities. To address this gap, public health expert Danya Keene will draw on an existing cohort study (NIH-funded Justice, Housing and Health Study ) of 400 disadvantaged low-income adults in New Haven, CT and interview 50-60 informal housing providers. Keene aims to: 1) characterize the experiences of these housing providers; 2) identify mechanisms that connect the provision of informal housing to health and wellbeing; and 3) explore relationships between informal housing provision and race and gender-based inequalities in housing and health. Keene will interview individuals who either a) report informal housing provision in the JustHouHS survey, or b) are providing housing to a current survey participant. She will also reach out to study participants who reported living with someone else and offer them the opportunity to invite their “hosts” to participate in an interview. The interviews will cover housing history, current housing experiences, and the decision to provide housing. It will explore housing cost, housing autonomy, stability, safety, and crowding. The interviews will also probe into health mediators such as sleep, health routines, stress, and social relationships.


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