For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Baltimore, MD – A new study analyzing data from families in the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership highlights the potential for housing mobility programs to help improve childhood asthma.

The Baltimore Regional Housing Partnerships’ housing mobility program provides rental assistance in the form of a Housing Choice Voucher and housing counseling that helps families overcome barriers to leasing quality housing in well-resourced neighborhoods. The study published online May 16, 2023, in the Journal of American Medical Association, is based on data from 123 children ages 5 to 17 who participated in the housing mobility program between 2016 and 2020.

The majority of children (47.2%) were female and 120 (97.6%) identify as Black. The median age was 8.4. On average, participants experienced substantial improvements and reduced the odds of having an asthma attack by more than 50 percent. The study was led by Craig Pollack, MD, a professor with joint
appointments at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects millions of children worldwide, causing wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Children living in high-poverty neighborhoods have a greater risk of experiencing asthma symptoms due to exposure to environmental pollutants, mold, pests, and neighborhood-related stress.

The study highlights the importance of providing families with better housing opportunities. In addition to reducing asthma morbidity, the study found that moving from a high-poverty neighborhood helped decrease stress levels among parents/caregivers. Parents and caregivers participating in the study
reported feeling safer and more connected to their surroundings after the move. This study adds to the evidence that housing mobility programs improve more than just living conditions – they improve public health.

“The lower number of asthma attacks after families move reinforces that where people live matters for their health,” said lead author Pollack, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Nursing professor. “Importantly, changes in stress and safety were a key factor in these asthma

Housing mobility programs were designed to address historic and contemporary housing discrimination that have resulted in racial and ethnic segregation, depleted segregated neighborhoods of opportunities to generate wealth, and contributed to unhealthy and stressful living conditions. The study’s findings underscore the value of interdisciplinary research in addressing complex social issues, such as housing and health disparities.

“For years we have heard anecdotally of the health improvements experienced by our clients after they move with the program, particularly around asthma”, said Pete Cimbolic, Managing Director at BRHP and co-author of the study. “The change in neighborhood context for these families has proven to have significant impacts on both the asthma of children, but also the stress of caregivers”. The results suggest that similar programs should be implemented nationwide to improve public health and create more equitable communities. BRHP is committed to improving the well-being of the most
vulnerable populations.

For more information about the study, please contact:
Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership Press Contact: TaKera Boston,, 667-207-2170


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