‘Then I Found Housing and Everything Changed’: Transitions to Rent-Assisted Housing and Diabetes Self-Management

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Objective

This study draws on qualitative interview data to examine transitions into rent-assisted housing as they relate to diabetes self-management behaviors.

Methods

We conducted qualitative interviews with low-income residents of New Haven, Connecticut, who had a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. To examine experiences of transition into rent-assisted housing, we drew on interviews with those participants who were living in rent-assisted housing at the baseline interview (n = 18) and participants (n = 5) who transitioned into rent-assisted housing between baseline and a 9-month followup. Interviews probed participants’ housing and diabetes experiences. Analysis followed an inductive grounded theory approach.

Results

Our data suggest that improvements in diabetes self-management accompanied the receipt of rental assistance. By providing housing access to those participants who previously had no place of their own, rental assistance facilitated environmental control that supported diabetes routines. By making housing more affordable, rental assistance also improved some participants’ ability to afford diabetes-related expenses and mitigated health-demoting financial stress. Additionally, for some participants, rental assistance provided residential stability that facilitated access to health-promoting local social support.

Conclusions

Although more research is needed, these data suggest that expanded access to rental assistance could both improve population health and reduce healthcare spending associated with preventable diabetes-related complications.

Publication Status

Published

Category Tags

Chronic Disease; Food and Nutrition; Healthcare; Housing; Policy and Law

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