Safe, Affordable, Quality Housing:
Prevention of Homelessness in Battle Creek
Community Health Practicum
Western Governors University
Primary Prevention Topic
Housing has long been recognized as a fundamental human right and a core social determinant of health (Stafford & Wood, _____). A home provides shelter, privacy, and safety and protects not only our physical health but also our social and mental health as well. Although in the last decade research demonstrating the link between specific housing conditions and health has matured, significant knowledge gaps remain. Healthy People 2020 has recently added Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) to its goals for improving the health of all Americans (Healthy People, 2020). “The Social Determinants of Health are conditions in the environment in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of heath functioning and quality of life outcomes” (Healthy People, 2020).
In this paper, I will discuss how housing instability within my community has led to an increased rate of homelessness. I will discuss the underlying causes of this housing instability and who is at risk of becoming homeless because of this instability. I will also discuss the resources available to this at-risk population with a goal of prevention.
My primary topic of discussion will be: Safe, Affordable, Quality Housing with a focus specifically being on prevention of homelessness within an at-risk population. The at-risk population in my community are those in the low to mid income level whose housing costs are more than 50% of their income and are considered to be experiencing a severe housing cost burden.
Calhoun County is located in southern Michigan, midway between Chicago and Detroit, at the junction of the two major interstate freeways I-94 (east/west) and I-69 (north/south). There are three population areas within the County: The City of Albion in the eastern portion, the City of Marshall in the center, and the City of Battle Creek in the northwest corner. The City of Battle Creek is the largest metropolitan area in the County. The remainder of the County is primarily agricultural. There are 19 townships, four incorporated cities and four villages within the boundaries of the County (Calhoun County, n.d.) According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has 706 square miles of land and 12 square miles of water (US Census, n.d.). As of July, 2016, census estimates, the population was 134,386. This is a decrease of -1,760 people from the 2010 United States Census. Overall the county had a -1.3% growth rate during this seven-year period. The racial and ethnic makeup of the county is 78.0% White, 11.2% Black, 5.0% Hispanic or Latino, and 2.6% Asian. Females make up 51.1% and males 48.8%. There were 11,020 veterans in Calhoun County in 2016. The median age is 40.1 years old (US Census, n.d.). The unemployment rate for Calhoun County is 4.6% with an...