The condition of housing has long been associated with the health of people. Improved housing and living environments have led to improvements in health, internationally.
The NSW Health Housing for Health Program aims to improve the health of Aboriginal people and communities in NSW by improving their living environment.
The program uses a licenced "Survey and Fix" process, developed by
Healthabitatto identify and repair items around the home that will give the best health outcome, particularly for children under five years old.
The program has a limited budget, so all works are prioritised to maximise the safety and health benefit to residents. The program brings houses up to a minimum standard to ensure they are safe and support healthy living. It is not a replacement for an ongoing repair and maintenance program.
A health outcomes evaluation of the program,
Closing the Gap: 10 Years of Housing for Health in NSW published in 2010 demonstrated:
Those who received the Housing for Health intervention had a significantly reduced rate of hospital separations for infectious diseases – 40% less than the hospital separation rate for the rest of the rural NSW Aboriginal population who did not receive the Housing for Health intervention.
Improved housing has been shown to reduce the rates of infectious diseases, particularly those associated with skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases, all of which are higher in
Aboriginal Communities in NSW. Repeat infections can be risk factors for some chronic diseases later in life.