Housing quality is essential for population health and broader well-being. The World Health Organization Housing and health guidelines highlight interventions that protect occupants from cold and hot temperatures, injuries, and other hazards. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of ventilation standards. Housing standards are unevenly developed, implemented, and monitored globally, despite robust research demonstrating that retrofitting existing houses and constructing high-quality new ones can reduce respiratory, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases. Indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, and people with low incomes face cumulative disadvantages that are exacerbated by poor-quality housing. These can be partially ameliorated by community-based programs to improve housing quality, particularly for children and older people, who are hospitalized more often for housing-related illnesses. There is renewed interest among policy makers and researchers in the health and well-being of people in public and subsidized housing, who are disproportionately disadvantaged by avoidable housing-related diseases and injuries. Improving the overall quality of new and existing housing and neighborhoods has multiple cobenefits, including reducing carbon emissions.


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