Ontario’s doctors are urging all levels of government to make a greater investment in housing programs after the latest research has revealed that the ability to access safe and affordable housing impacts patient health. “As doctors, we see patients regularly who don’t have access to safe and affordable housing. The impact on their health is significant,” said Dr. Scott Wooder, president of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA). “Secure housing both prevents illness and improves patients’ recovery. Housing-supportive policies are good investments that pay significant health dividends.”
The OMA highlights seniors and individuals with mental health conditions as especially vulnerable to the negative effects of insecure housing on their health. The research reviewed is consistent with CMHA Ontario’s recent analysis that individuals with serious mental health conditions require safe and affordable housing as a place to live in dignity and move towards recovery. People with serious mental health conditions frequently identify income and housing as the most important factors in achieving and maintaining their health. Individuals with fixed incomes may have to choose between paying for food, heating or rent, and these decisions can add to stress and negative well-being.