Should Housing Be A Wealth Creation Tool Or A Social Benefit? An Aussie Medical Perspective

uniformed players in tug of war
Is keeping your home like a tug of war? When you're renting, your pull may not be enough to stay housed, especially when your opponent/owner is an investor with profit in mind.

In case you hadn’t noticed that your own national housing emergency looks a lot like Australia’s, an InSight article by Caitlin Wright describes some conditions that you will probably find familiar.

Wright is providing a description of a Perspective published in the Medical Journal of Australia by Dr Jennifer Lacy-Nichols, Professor Rebecca Bentley and Professor Adam Elshaug.

The authors see a need for a discussion about Australia’s vision for housing:

“should it be as a wealth creation tool or a social benefit, in which case housing cooperatives, social housing, and minimum standards in the rental sector should be the focus of discussion and part of a prevention strategy in public health. This requires a substantial change in our policy approach and a more explicit discussion of the commercial pressures to generate wealth through housing.”

The Perspective makes case for the value of studying:

“the Commercial Determinants of Health — traditionally linked to “the systems, practices, and pathways through which commercial actors drive health and equity.”

These determinants can have a negative or positive effect on human health. To date, Commercial Determinants of Health research:

“have usually focused on a narrow segment of commercial actors selling harmful products such as tobacco, alcohol and ultra-processed foods”

Lacy-Nichols, Bentley and Elshaug also say:

“One area that has seen little attention within Commercial Determinants of Health scholarship, thus far, is analysis of industry sectors that provide goods and services linked to human rights, such as housing, education, and health care”

It’s a short step from this concept to the availability of housing. Read more in Wright’s article on this fundamentally important medical perspective in InSight: Housing crisis threatens health of most vulnerable

Here as well is a link to the Perspective in the Medical Journal of Australia: Commercial determinants of human rights: for‐profit health care and housing