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Unstable Housing and Kidney Disease: A Primer.


Stable housing is essential for health. Over 580,000 Americans experienced homelessness during one night in 2020, and over 37 million households spend over 30% of their income on housing. Unstable housing has been associated with mortality, acute care utilization, communicable and non-communicable diseases, a higher risk of kidney disease, and kidney disease progression. In this review, we define various forms of unstable housing, provide an overview of the interaction between unstable housing and health, and discuss existing evidence associating housing and kidney disease. We provide historical context for unstable housing in the United States, and detail policy, community, and individual-level factors that contribute to the risk of unstable housing. Unstable housing likely affects kidney health via a complex interplay of individual and structural factors. Various screening tools are available for use by providers. Special considerations should be made when working with individuals experiencing unstable housing to meet their unique needs, facilitate health care engagement, and optimize outcomes. Housing interventions have been shown to improve outcomes and should be examined for their role in kidney disease.

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