Public Housing and Personal Health: The Tulsa Housing Authority

Dec 5, 2016

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we speak with two representatives from the Tulsa Housing Authority (or THA): Matt Letzig is the organization's Interim CEO and Terri Cole is its VP for Assisted Housing. THA, as noted at its website, "provides publicly assisted housing comprised of traditional public housing, mixed finance sites, and Section 8. Currently, THA provides assistance to more than 20,000 individuals, or 7,200 families.... THA offers several housing options throughout the City of Tulsa, including low-income housing, assisted housing, and homeownership opportunities." In doing such, as we discuss today, THA not only offers shelter to those in dire need -- it contributes meaningfully and actively to the health of people in this community. This is because housing, of course, is a major "social determinant of health," to employ a phrase used more and more these days by health care professionals and policy-makers alike. Meaning, those social and economic factors that, taken together, have a greater impact on the health of a given community than access to medical care per se (or than the quality of such care). Housing -- much like schooling, say, or one's own job, or even the air that one breathes -- can be a determining factor in how healthy one is overall (above and beyond such things as diet and exercise).