Housing has a tremendous impact on health and wellbeing. Where housing is safe, affordable, and situated in vibrant neighborhoods with access to parks, public transit, healthy food retail, and opportunities for social connection, people and communities can flourish and thrive. When housing is scarce, unaffordable, unsafe, inhospitable, located near toxic land uses, and segregated from opportunity, residents may struggle to access opportunities, connect with one another, meet their basic health needs, and recover from illnesses and injuries.

Housing insecurity emerges—again and again—as a cause, symptom, and outcome of inequities in health and wellbeing, safety, and exposure to violence. Historical and present-day policies, practices, and systems shape whether quality housing is available in a community, and to whom. For instance, investments in new public transit lines can improve access and support health, while also putting pressure on renters and local businesses. Working strategically, transportation agencies can partner with residents, developers, and others to create affordability that works better for everyone.

Prevention Institute’s work with the housing and land-use sectors, as well as people working to prevent intimate partner violence and promote mental health and wellbeing, focuses on supporting safe, healthy communities where local business owners and residents have the opportunity to thrive.

Projects & Initiatives

PI works with a breadth of partners and communities to develop strategies and practices to keep people healthy and safe in the first place. Below is a selection of ongoing or recent projects.

  • Healthy, Equitable, Active Land Use Network

    HEALU was formed in response to structural barriers to equity in Los Angeles’ land use arena, and in an effort to strategically and collaboratively promote systems change. HEALU augments the role of health in the land use sphere through training, capacity building, convening and proactively advancing key strategies to ensure a healthier, more equitable land use system.


We research and write reports, white papers, fact sheets, opinion pieces, and journal articles, as well as produce videos and podcasts. Here are some of our latest offerings.

  • Healthy Development Without Displacement: Realizing the Vision of Healthy Communities for All

    In Healthy Development without Displacement: Realizing the Vision of Healthy Communities for All, we explore: What can people working on “healthy community” issues—like active transportation, parks, healthy food, planning, public health, healthcare, and more—do in their own work to improve community conditions without contributing to gentrification and displacement?

  • BRIEF: Countering the Production of Health Inequities: Ensuring the Opportunity for Health for All

    In this brief, Countering the Production of Health Inequities: Ensuring the Opportunity for Health for All, Prevention Institute analyzes how various sectors such as housing, education, and economic development have contributed to inequities in health but also have important roles to play in achieving health equity. There is a role for every institution, sector, and system working together to achieve an equitable culture of health across the United States.

  • Back to our Roots - Community Determinants and Pillars of Wellbeing Advance Resilience and Healing

    Mental health is at the heart of many of the challenges we face, including trauma and adverse childhood experiences, social isolation, institutionalized bias and discrimination, and ‘diseases of despair’ that manifest in depression, suicide, and substance misuse. Addressing social determinants of health is key to helping communities navigate adversity, heal, and flourish. PI’s new report, Back to Our Roots: Catalyzing Community Action for Mental Health and Wellbeing, illustrates how improving community conditions can reduce the incidence and intensity of mental health challenges, and help activate resilience.

Profiles in Action

  • Male Engagement Network: Men Making Connections

    In Boston, a history of structural racism has resulted in underfunded schools, inadequate housing, and other community conditions that generate trauma for men of color. Since 2016, Boston's Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC) has convened the Boston Making Connections coalition to promote mental wellbeing for men of color and their families.

  • Safe Lead Yard Project (Boston)

    Boston Lead-Safe Yard Project uses affordable techniques to mitigate exposure to lead in inner-city yards. Now that they have proven that affordable remediation techniques can reduce urban lead exposure, project members are working to ensure these effective lead-safe yard techniques are applied in neighborhoods across the country.

  • Countering the Production of Health Inequities through Systems and Sectors

    Prevention Institute is working with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Achieving Health Equity Team to inform its grant making goals and strategies. Our analysis reveals that health inequities have been produced through policies and practices and that multiple sectors have a role to play in reversing the production and in supporting community transformation and health equity.