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Briefly reflect on your general education capstone experience and address the following questions:

What are the key takeaways from this class that you will carry with you?

What did it take to bring your paper and presentation together, and how has that experience shaped your professional outlook?

What recommendations or advice would you provide for students who will take this capstone course in the future?

Review the rubric for further information on how your assignment will be graded.

Your paper should be 1/2–1 page in length. Adhere to APA Style throughout.

Housing and Public Health
Student’s Name: Yorely Perez
Institutional Affiliation: Westcoast University
Housing and Public Health
Poor housing conditions are primarily associated with a broad range of health
complications: lead poisoning, asthma, mental health, injuries, and respiratory infections. The
advocacy that majorly addresses the housing issues allows health practitioners to talk about the
significant social health determinants. Public health and health issues are correlated for a long
time. Public health approaches can address the poor housing conditions and the risk posed when
people live in them.
This study’s material and methods will be purely secondary sources such as books,
journals, and scholarly articles that discuss the topic of study. An in-depth review will be done.
The results revealed that most of the causes of inadequate housing started back in the 19th and
20th centuries during the slave trade. During that time, the blacks were entirely segregated and
had to use their things without sharing with the whites; this was also applicable in the housing
process where there was a secluded ghetto meant for the black races. It was also evident that
poor living conditions affect public health. Most of the collected data talked about how racial
discrimination has influenced public health and the impacts of unaffordable housing, and its
relation to public health.
The significance of public health should get addressed, and regulations should be
followed later. Public health plays a significant role in determining the approaches to solve such
issues affecting the housing sector. Poor housing is costly to human lives since people living
there are constantly exposed to the risks of physical and mental harm. The environment is not
entirely friendly to a vulnerable population, like children, people living with disabilities, and
older people.
Housing is a significant health determinant. Substandard housing is a public health
concern that needs to get addressed. Most Americans spend much time while indoors. Infants
and children spend even much more time at home, which exposes them most to household
hazards. Elements that are related to housing can harm or help human health in many ways.
There are aspects of housing that intermediately relate to health, and they include; housing
affordability, the physical state within the homes, and the conditions in the neighborhood around
the house.
Despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act, there are still many disparities between
African Americans and whites regarding access to quality education, employment, and
homeownership access. This segregation to access blacks’ essential services has made it nearly
impossible for African Americans to build their equity and amass wealth through real estate and
homeownership (Williams, 2020). Segregation has made it a challenge for the secluded
community to access quality housing. The houses they live in have pathetic conditions and pose
more risk to their health. The involvement of public health will be particularly appropriate for the
quality and accessible housing.
The home design and structure significantly affect the quality of housing, thereby
affecting physical and mental health. All the home features like balconies, windows, and steps
may threaten safety for different people, especially people living with disabilities, children, and
the elderly. The children and aged people are the only susceptible group that may face adverse
health outcomes when residing in poor quality housing. Such problems should be addressed by
public health on protecting the vulnerable population from harm with the challenges they face.
This paper will therefore address the public health issues that are concerned with the lack of
affordable housing.
Healthy homes have been found to promote good mental and physical health. Good
health also relies on owning healthy homes which are free and safe from any potential health
hazards. On the other hand, poor-quality housing contributes to health complications such as
injuries and chronic diseases. The harmful effects of these conditions can interfere with
children’s development. Poor housing translates to poor indoor air quality. Water leaks, poor
ventilation, and lead poisoning are among the complications that might pose a risk in inadequate
housing. Such risk factors typically coexist in the homes, and people are more likely to interact
with them. For example, a child might be playing with a can of fresh paint and can end up
drinking the paint. Such situations place the children at significant risk of having multiple health
Lead poisoning, for instance, severely damages the nervous system and the brain. Its
impacts are usually irreversible and would affect an individual’s learning capabilities through
reducing intelligence and creating learning disabilities. The substandard houses typically have
poor ventilation, roof and tap leaks, pest infestation, and dirty carpets that make a breeding
ground for mites and mold and cause other allergic body reactions related to poor health. The
chilly indoor conditions are also crucial factors in poor health and increase the risk of contracting
cardiovascular diseases. Extremely high and low temperatures can lead to mortality, especially to
the elderly since they are the most vulnerable. Another issue is the overcrowding that leads to
physical illnesses such as respiratory infections and Tuberculosis.
Chronic diseases
Chronic diseases mostly display themselves in areas that have substandard housing. Such
structures increase the risk of chronic complications. Substandard houses are usually exposed to
many risk factors. For example, they can get flooded during cases of heavy rain. The cold, damp
and moldy types of housing get linked with asthma and other respiratory-related conditions.
Water intrusion is a significant challenge in poor housing that leads to dampness in the house.
This intrusion can be a result of leaking roofs. The damp places create a conducive environment
that acts as a breeding ground for respiratory viruses, roaches, mites, and molds.
An example of chronic disease is Tuberculosis, a disease caused by bacillus
mycobacterium, and it is spread through the air from person to person. The tiny droplets can be
passed either through sneezes and coughs. Its transmission happens when someone who is
untreated speaks, sneezes, laughs, sings, or coughs. The most common tuberculosis strains likely
form a resistance against drugs. Tuberculosis usually affects the lungs, but it can also spread and
attack other body organs like kidneys, spine, intestines, and the brain (Churchyard et al., 2017).
This condition’s symptoms largely depend on the body part that gets attacked and where the
bacteria is growing in the body. There are two categories, latent TB and active TB. In latent TB,
the patient has the infection but does not display any symptoms despite the body’s bacteria. It is
also referred to as inactive TB infection but is not considered contagious. Treatment for this type
of TB is necessary because the individual can develop active TB. On the other hand, active TB
makes the patient sick, and it is the one that readily spreads to people.
The signs and symptoms portrayed inactive TB include; coughing blood, chest pains,
prolonged coughing that last for more than two weeks, unintended weight loss, fever, loss of
appetite, fatigue, chills, and night sweating. This severe condition can also affect the spine,
kidney, and brain. This condition gives symptoms according to the place they attack in the
human body. For example, back pains can result from the bacteria attacking the spine, and when
it strikes the kidney, it causes traces of blood in the urine. The risk factors that are involved in
this disease increase the individual’s chances of contracting the disease. An individual with a
weakened immune system has a high probability of contracting the disease (Churchyard et al.,
2017). For example, patients living with HIV/AIDS, certain cancers, malnutrition, diabetes,
severe kidney complications, extraordinarily young and older people, patients undergoing
chemotherapy used in cancer treatment, and patients that use drugs for treating Crohn’s disease,
psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The relationship between TB and inadequate housing is the factor of overcrowding.
People who live in poverty tend to a high TB prevalence rate. According to research, this
disease’s occurrence is high in low-income people who usually live in congested areas and
people with negligible education levels. Overly crowded areas have poor ventilation and hygiene
habits, making a conducive environment for spreading the bacteria (Churchyard et al., 2017).
The prevalence and transmission of the mycobacterium bacteria are faster, which puts most of
the population living in the house and the neighborhood at risk.
Asthma attacks have long been related to substandard housing, especially for children
exposed to environmental triggers like mold and pest infestations. Asthma is a condition
whereby the airways are narrowed and swell, producing extra mucus. Such a situation
complicates breathing and triggers a wheezing sound when an individual is breathing. It can also
trigger coughing and cause shortness of breath (Dharmage, Perret & Custovic, 2019). Some
people consider this a minor condition, but it worsens and majorly interferes with their daily
activities. The adverse effects of this condition can also cause an acute asthma attack.
Asthma has no cure but can be controlled and prevented. It is also essential for a patient
receiving medication for asthma to adjust to treatment because asthma changes over time. The
symptoms associated with asthma vary for every individual. The signs and symptoms include
chest pains or chest tightness, shortness of breath, trouble in sleeping that is caused by the
shortness of breath, wheezing when breathing, especially in children, and coughing that worsen
in case of flu or a cold caused by a respiratory virus (Dharmage, Perret & Custovic, 2019). An
individual can also determine the worsening of the signs of asthma through frequent attacks of
the symptoms. The individual will also see the need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often.
Increased difficulty in breathing is also a sign that the condition is worsening.
In other cases, the asthma symptoms are triggered by specific situations like allergy,
occupation, and exercise. Exercise-induced asthma usually worsens when the air becomes dry
and cold. Occupational asthma gets triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes,
dust, and gases. On the other hand, allergy-induced asthma is brought about by airborne
substances, for example, mold spores, pollen from trees and flowers, dust, skin particles, and pet
dander (Mayo Clinic). Concerning poor housing, living conditions can trigger asthma. In
overcrowded places like in poor housing setups, more respiratory infections make an individual
vulnerable to asthmatic attacks.
Generally, these cold and damp places take a significant toll on triggering asthma. The
cold air and spaces in poor housing conditions are not conducive for a person with asthma and
any related conditions. Other factors increase asthma development. They include being a smoker,
being overweight, exposure to smoke, having other allergic diseases, for example, atopic
dermatitis and hay fever, which cause itchy skin and itchy eyes, respectively (Mayo Clinic). The
prevention of asthma can be through following a specific plan that the doctor designs. Getting a
vaccination for pneumonia and influenza to avoid any further complications is also a treatment.
The action plan must also get followed according to the prescription of the health practitioner.
Pest infestations in the house relate to asthma; this links chronic illness and substandard
housing. Cockroaches can cause allergic hyper-reactions and are a crucial asthma trigger.
Children and adults with asthmatic conditions and are exposed and sensitized to cockroaches
face a higher risk of being hospitalized. Rat allergen also acts as a clinically significant cause of
asthma morbidity and allergy. Defects in the structures make room for rodents and cockroaches
to breed and stay in them (Gautier & Charpin, 2017). On the other hand, leaking pipes and water
taps provide them with water to drink. These rodents can obtain food because there are
insufficient and unreliable food storage and disposal facilities.
Injuries are any physical harm that causes pain to the human body, and it is inflicted by a
risk that caused the accident. Lack of proper housing can get related to injuries because people
living in such conditions are exposed to agents that inflict harm. The injuries can either be minor
or significant. Falls and accidents are the two elements that bring about injuries. A high
proportion of these accidents occur inside the houses and are most likely to affect the elderly and
children. Falls from stairs are dangerous and have can cause a substantial number of deaths.
The significance of designing homes to prevent injuries has been adopted in most modern
houses, especially concerning reducing falls and burns. The standard features of poor,
substandard housing include slippery surfaces, exposed heating facilities, breakable window
glass with high contact chances, unprotected upper-story windows and doors, and poorly
designed staircases having no or insufficient lighting. Construction materials and design affect
the likelihood of getting injuries. These potential hazards are also found in temporary
accommodation structures given to young children and homeless women.
Economic Issues Involved
When a family spends less than 30 percent buying or renting a residence, it is commonly
considered affordable. The lack of affordable housing units makes families and individuals limit
their choices on the places they would like to reside. They often end up settling for a substandard
house that is unsafe, has high rates of poverty, is overcrowded, and has few health promotion
resources such as bike paths, parks, and recreation places.
The lack of affordable housing affects a family’s ability to settle other crucial expenses
like paying water and electricity bills. The situation has placed many other economic strains.
High housing costs inflict a specific burden on low-income families, facilitating exchanges or
tradeoffs between food and electronics for different needs. Low-income individuals who face
challenges in the payment of household bills tend to forego treatment and most likely use the
emergency room for treatment. Children living in poor household conditions are likely to have
more behavioral challenges, worse health, and low school performance.
Cultural and ethical perspectives of inquiry
The roots of housing discrimination have seen to affect blacks since then mostly. It is
through slavery that the housing options for blacks were introduced. As time went by, economic
and institutional forces started to replace slavery. These forces limited the African-Americans in
the participation of the community and civic life. The housing choices also followed the same
trend of inequality to keep up with the nation’s status. The residential segregation of black in
America was almost permanent for all households in America. Black Americans have endured
the consistent residential segregation and isolation that were forced upon blacks.
In the mid 20th century, housing became a feature for federal, local, and state policies.
Many of the black communities migrated to the urban community in the North from the rural
South. Such policies were enforced, and it saw African-Americans were collected in extremely
segregated ghettos. In the 50s and 60s, the federal agencies financed almost all suburban homes
to create middle-class America. However, many black applicants for the houses were left out,
and 98 percent of the federal government’s loans were secured by white applicants (Center for
American Progress, 2016). This type of housing and lending practices were unquestionable the
climax of segregation of blacks in urban communities. The practices were intentionally
Racial inequality is a collective phrase that covers a wide range of societal problems that
are usually hard to solve. These problems may include right-to-vote concerns, racial biasness,
homelessness, inferior schools, limited access to quality healthcare, and low-paying job
opportunities. The rundown apartments found in poor neighborhoods are considered the root
cause of most of the quality-of-life concerns. The issues are projected to rise if no measures are
taken. America’s history of segregated housing gradually limits the motion of affordable housing
for every American citizen (Center for American Progress, 2016). Homeownership in America is
a foundation of civic life, but this does not apply to all Americans. Most Latinos and African
Americans have since faced the history of segregation when it comes to housing.
Low-income families find it impossible to own a house. Finding a healthy home that is
safe and affordable is a dream for most of them. They face the struggles of making their daily
wages, and they are seen as an outcast and not belonging to the country. Most of the poorest
households tend to accrue more expenditures than half of their income on paying for housing.
According to housing discrimination studies, a dark-skinned Mexican-American was likely to
experience at least one instance of discrimination by 96 percent. While on the other hand, a lightskinned Mexican-American has less percentage of facing discrimination by 65 percent (Center
for American Progress, 2016). A national housing study survey revealed that Hispanic renters
had a 50 percent discrimination rate than Hispanic buyers, 56 %.
Racial discrimination in the housing sector is so severe in the U.S today. To live in
specific neighborhoods, you must earn on the level with them or above them (Center for
American Progress, 2016). When purchasing a home, Latino and black borrowers often charge
high-interest rates than white with the same salary. Even after the passing of the Fair Housing
Act in 1968, which removed housing segregation, many local, federal, and state policies showed
progress in supporting de-facto segregation that would see blacks live in their private ghettos.
The fair housing act was enacted in 1968 by federal law, which prohibited discrimination
in the sale, rental, purchase, or financing of housing based on nationality, sex, religion, race,
disability, and skin color. This Act gets enforced at the federal level by the Housing and Urban
Development Department. This legislation was ushered in by the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(Sander et al., 2018). Congress then passed the Act to respond to campaigns and movements to
end racial discrimination in the mid-50s and 60s.
The federal government then expanded the Act to involve gender protections and further
included protecting families with people living with disabilities. The Act emphasizes the right to
equal treatment for everyone who applies for housing (Steil & Kelly, 2019). Examples of
discriminatory activities include; delaying or failing to conduct maintenance for particular
renters, limiting services, privileges emphasizing on an individual’s nationality, racial, or gender,
elements, and imposing different prices either in selling or buying.
The Act combats housing discrimination through various methods such as home renting
and selling; This prohibits the refusal to rent housing or conduct a negotiation, providing various
housing accommodations or amenities. Second, it ends discrimination against mortgage lending
by denying to purchase or make a mortgage loan, setting different needs for loan purchasing, and
using discriminatory activities in the property appraisal (Steil & Kelly, 2019). The Act also
addresses other illegal housing activities like threatening any individual of their fair housing
rights and making discriminatory statements.
Cultural Values Influencing the Issue
Cultural dimensions also influence the issue of affordable housing. The cultural
dimensions that can get applied in housing are values, beliefs, and behavior. It is vital that during
housing, all the cultural aspects are considered. The community should get regarded as a vehicle
that binds people together. Affordable housing needs to be well integrated socially. Cultural
values are always strongly intrinsic to ethnic groups, but due to people’s consistent migration, the
impact of culture has been systematic, and so has the migration pattern (Van Doorn et al., 2019).
In defining values, respective cultures represent their thresholds.
The culture of a society has got its attributes. It is diverse and accumulative across all
generations, which would give housing identity to a place within various elements. For adopting
a culture, first, all community members should be social with one another. Culture covers a wide
range of cultural, political, and social interests. When these are combined into one aspect of
value systems, they will lead to residential satisfaction since ethnic groups would be united. The
cultural identity of a place would change as a result of different ethnic groups. Additionally,
individuals from various ethnic backgrounds reside together in harmony. This unity brings a
more significant opportunity for harmony and inter-ethnic contacts because they live together in
the same environmental setting.
Ethical obligations
Most professional ethicists recommend adopting four fundamental principles that should
guide them in deciding ethical concerns. One of the critical values is autonomy, which states that
the patients can choose and determine their health, and no one can infringe that right. Justice is
another principle that involves distributing burdens and benefits of care all over society
(Ortmann et al., 2016). The medical practitioner should also do good for the patient, a virtue
known as beneficence. The last principle is non malfeasance which ensures that the nurse does
everything right and does not harm the patient. There are many other principles.
Ethics in public health are seen as a prescriptive activity that tells the medical practitioner
what to do. It can also affirm when things are going on well. However, with the evolution of the
health system, some ethical choices could be intensively challenging. There are several reasons
why the nurse would apply ethical obligations to the patient. They include; maintaining a clear
conscience on what the health caregiver is offering and making sure that they have done the right
thing. Ethics help in maintaining the optimum respect for the patients. The role for this is to there
are no broken bonds between the doctor and the patient (Ortmann et al., 2016). A breached trust
is challenging to repair, and the patient would find it difficult to trust the doctor.
Ethics are essential in ensuring that there is the maintenance of a mutually respectful
relationship with fellow clinicians. The clinician must also maintain professional boundaries, and
it will require the physician to know the boundaries in the workplace. The patients are considered
vulnerable, and their vulnerability should get acknowledged at all times. Data privacy is also an
essential factor when it comes to ethics. Protection of patient information is crucial according to
the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The HIPPA laws must be followed, and
the health care professionals should not disclose any information about the patient to anyone else
(Ortmann et al., 2016). Any violation of information disclosure is ethically and legally wrong,
and the healthcare provider should take responsibility. The patient information should only be
available to the physicians and other necessary healthcare workers.
The patient has the right to informed consent, which implies that the healthcare worker
will be responsible for providing a detailed explanation and understanding of the benefits and the
risks of the patient’s treatment; this allows the patient to choose if they would like to proceed
with the procedure or not. The principle of informed consent implies that the patient should
receive autonomy over the treatment (American College of Healthcare Executives). The
healthcare provider should also have a document as a sign of proof of the patient’s
acknowledgment of the whole process.
The lack of affordable housing for the African-American people has exposed them to
public health issues that adversely affect their health. The consequences that are involved with
the lack of affordable housing are mostly the impact on the body. For example, people living in
poor housing conditions would likely get TB. The intervention that would be needed is for the
public health and the government to ensure proper housing and hygiene.
One of the significant interventions used to address the problem is through upgrading the
houses or relocating to healthy homes that pose fewer health risks to humans. A healthy home is
critical in promoting good mental and physical health. Good health will depend on having houses
that are free and safe from physical hazards. Among the legal interventions that would get
adopted are increased black homeownership opportunities, increasing access to affordable credit,
and down payment assistance. The government should also consider investing in racially
segregated communities and halt the perpetuation of segregation. The federal government can
also alleviate the housing cost burdens by expanding the availability of vouchers.
The evidence was in line with the topic of the minority people, who, in this case, were
majorly African Americans. The lack of affordable housing for them has made them live in poor
conditions, which exposes them to health risks like physical injury or mental health. The poor
conditions of living make their lives miserable because of inequality in the housing sector in
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