Is Housing Assistance Associated With Mental Health?


Jaramillo, Atticus & Rohe, William M. (2023). Is Housing Assistance Associated With Mental Health?. Journal of the American Planning Association. pp. 1-14


Problem, research strategy, and findings It is often suggested that housing assistance helps adults overcome mental health challenges, yet researchers have long struggled to unravel the complex psychological pathways that explain whether and how housing assistance affects mental health. We advance the literature by testing for a direct association between housing assistance and two mental health outcomes: depression and anxiety. We also tested for indirect associations, focusing on whether housing assistance affected mental health by affecting psychological stress, sense of control over life circumstances (i.e., mastery), and exposure to discrimination. We found that housing assistance was directly associated with reduced anxiety, but no direct association was found for depression. We also found that housing assistance was associated with variables believed to indirectly influence mental health, including mastery and psychological stress. However, neither of these variables was associated with depression or anxiety.Takeaway for practice Although our findings show some positive relationships, receipt of housing assistance alone was only modestly associated with anxiety, and there was no association for depression. Our findings therefore suggest that mental health services should be made available to program participants because housing assistance alone may not promote better mental health. Supportive housing programs provide a promising model for delivering mental health services to program participants. However, housing planners and policymakers will need to develop new areas of expertise and new strategic priorities to ensure the effective expansion, implementation, and administration of such programs.



affordable housing

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Journal of the American Planning Association


Jaramillo, Atticus
Rohe, William M.

Year Published





April 5, 2023



Reference ID