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Home is Where the Heart is: The Link Between Poverty, Housing, and Health

October 15, 2020 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


The facts

Secure and affordable housing is critical to overcoming many of the economic, social and chronic disease challenges facing rural and remote Australians, particularly chronic diseases closely related to housing such as rheumatic heart disease.

People in rural and remote Australia have lower incomes, lower net household worth, higher instances of risk factors for poor health, higher levels of chronic disease, accidents and injury, and reduced life expectancy.

A key challenge for people living in poverty is access to appropriate, secure and affordable housing. Living in inappropriate, poor and insecure housing leads to many adverse health outcomes related to stress, poor nutrition, accidents, falls and communicable diseases. As a recent Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute report notes, the private housing market fails to decently and affordably accommodate people on low incomes or facing other forms of disadvantage.

Two-thirds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians live outside major cities. A critical factor in improving health outcomes for Indigenous Australians is the provision and maintenance of appropriate housing. For example, crowded housing can contribute to the increased burden of disease in children including Otitis media – which can result in permanent hearing loss – and Strep A infection, which can lead to rheumatic fever and the devastating effects of rheumatic heart disease.

Who should attend?

The webinar is open to anyone, but particularly those interested in the critical role secure housing plays in the health, and economic and social wellbeing, of low-income Australians; the importance of appropriate housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians; the effect of the current recession on people in economic hardship, particularly in rural Australia; and how to overcome the devastating effects of rheumatic heart disease on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.


Dr Richard Denniss: Chief Economist, The Australia Institute; Prof Fran Baum Director, Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity; Dr Katharine Noonan: Head of Strategy, END RHD, Telethon Kids Institute and Michael Klerck,Tangentyere Council Aboriginal Corporation.


Dr Gabrielle O’Kane: Chief Executive Officer, National Rural Health Alliance