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Stable Housing Improves Health Outcomes For Mothers & Babies

Not having a secure place to live is a stressful situation, so it’s no wonder that new research has found improved for expecting women when provided with .

A study was commissioned by the Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) in order to study the outcomes of Health Beginning at Home. The goal of the project was to improve health outcomes for low-income pregnant women and their babies, specifically reducing .

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Individuals were chosen for the program based on “priority ZIP codes” – areas in which infant mortality was especially high. Reports suggest that 92% of the people helped through the project were Black, which the researchers suggest underscores the residential segregation present throughout Columbus, Ohio.

According to , Ohio has one of the worst infant mortality rates in all of the United States. Using statistics from the (CDC), the outlet notes that Ohio’s infant mortality rate is 6.97 per 1,000 live births. In comparison, Mississippi features the worst in the country with 9.07 per 1,000 live births.

The housing stabilization pilot program was launched in 2018 and concluded in early 2021. During that time, it provided rental assistance and other housing-related services to 49 families located in Columbus, Ohio. It was funded by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) as well as numerous other private and public organizations.

In conclusion, HPIO discovered that the Health Beginning at Home project did improve overall maternal and fetal health outcomes. Even more, the researchers did see a as a result of the Health Beginning at Home project.

The study’s other findings included:

  • Less money was spent on Medicaid because the participants had lower health care costs to improved pregnancy and birth outcomes
  • Housing stability greatly improved and ultimately reduced the number of families in

Ohio Capital Journal explains that the majority of participants in the program earned only minimum wage, which accounted for their housing stability problems. However, in Ohio, statistics show that renters need to earn approximately $19.08 per hour if they want to spend less than the recommended 30% of their income on housing.

The researchers hope their findings encourage policymakers to introduce legislation that improves housing stability for low-income families, especially in areas with high mortality rates. They add that larger studies need to replicate the new research findings in order to better understand the link between housing stability and maternal/fetal health outcomes.

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