How much does substandard housing increase province’s health care costs?

NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael

NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) says unregulated boarding and rooming houses are notorious for the substandard living conditions they provide for some of the province’s most vulnerable people. In addition to the exorbitant rates landlords charge government, she says, this type of housing also leads to increased costs for health care.

“It is well known that poor housing conditions lead to serious health problems which are a cost to health care systems,” Michael said in the House of Assembly today.

“I ask the Minister of Health and Community Services, has his Department done an analysis of the health care costs in this province of people living in substandard, unhealthy boarding homes?”

Michael pointed to a report from three years ago that specifically identified the health problems that poor housing can cause. That report offered a recommendation that Michael says would go a long way to improving the boarding house situation.

“A 2013 accreditation report on Eastern Health stated that substandard housing is a significant issue for many clients,” she said.

“It recommended working with the Department of Health and Community Services to develop minimum housing standards in public health legislation, as exist in other provinces.

“I ask the Minister, has he started working on that recommendation?”

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