Beyond Housing for Health: Using Flexible Funds to Improve Maternal and Child Health

J Urban Health. 2022 Dec;99(6):1027-1032. doi: 10.1007/s11524-022-00686-8. Epub 2022 Oct 13.


Upstreaming Housing for Health (UHfH) was a pilot program that aimed to improve housing stability and reduce health inequities among people experiencing high-risk pregnancies and their infants. It served 50 families from 2019 to 2020. One critical component of UHfH was an innovative flexible fund, which was originally designed to address housing stability (e.g., rent arrears) but expanded its scope to address material needs that promoted family stability within the context of their housing situation (e.g., housing safety or maternal-infant health while in shelter). Seventy-six percent of families accessed flexible funds for items such as rental assistance, cribs, and breast pumps, with average financial support of $1343 (standard deviation = $625). The flexible fund is an example of a cash transfer policy. Such policies have shown to positively impact family health and well-being in the USA and internationally. Similar funding should be considered as part of future programming to reduce housing instability and homelessness.

Keywords: Homelessness; Housing instability; Infant outcomes; Maternal outcomes; Social determinants of health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Health*
  • Family*
  • Humans
  • Policy