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U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro joined key leaders and experts at a national conference focused on utilizing innovative housing solutions as a platform to improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities. The day-long event was hosted by the National Building Museum, in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Office of Policy Development and Research, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Housing Conference.
During his keynote conversation with Julia Stasch, Interim President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Secretary Castro emphasized the critical importance of breaking down policy and programmatic silos and increasing collaboration with other federal agencies, local governments as well as the private and non-profit sectors. He also discussed research that HUD has recently conducted exploring how housing interventions and supports can improve health and educational outcomes and the ways in which this evidence is impacting policy decisions.
“Housing does matter as a foundation for everything else: Education, health, employment. That was true in my life, and that's true for a majority of Americans,” said Castro.
“Housing is more than shelter, and the research and innovative practices discussed today show that decent, stable, affordable housing is at the core of how we tackle some of the most important issues we face as a society—of how children learn and thrive, and how our elderly can age with the dignity and care they deserve," said Stasch.
The conference also featured panel discussions on the following topics:
►Housing Policy, School Policy: Using a recent collaboration between the Housing Authority and School District in Tacoma, Wash. as a point of departure, this panel focused on how stable, affordable housing can help schools narrow the achievement gap for low-income children.
►Healthy Housing, Healthy Kids: Given that housing is a strong social determinant of children’s health and well being, this panel discussed how green affordable housing in particular can support children’s health by improving air quality, reducing exposure to toxins and offering opportunities for physical activity.
►Successful Housing, Successful Aging: As a greater life expectancy, a declining birth rate, and the aging of the Baby Boom generation all stand to dramatically increase the number older adults in the coming decades, this panel focused on the challenges that such a demographic shift presents and how housing can be a platform for an improved quality of life and enable health care cost savings.