The Relationship Between Federal Housing Assistance and Uptake of Cancer Screening Among Low-Income Adults

  • Michelle S. Wong
  • Carolyn M. Arnold
  • Eric T. Roberts
  • Craig E. PollackEmail author


Lower rates of cancer screening among racial/ethnic minorities and low-income populations may contribute to disparate cancer outcomes.1 Federal housing assistance programs may potentially influence cancer screening disparities but has received relatively little attention. These programs, which are administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and include public housing and rental assistance (i.e., Housing Choice Vouchers), currently serve approximately 10 million individuals.2 Similar to populations in the USA with the lowest cancer screening rates, HUD housing assistance recipients are nearly exclusively low-income and disproportionately non-white.3Federal housing assistance may affect cancer screening rates through several mechanisms. For example, housing assistance programs may increase household financial resources through rental subsidies, improve healthcare access by collocating housing with health centers and social services, and...



We would like to thank Patricia Barnes, analyst at the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, and Veronica Helms, analyst in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, for their partnership and guidance on this project.

Dr. Wong was supported by the VA Office of Academic Affiliation through the Health Services Research fellowship, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Award Number T32HS000029), and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (Award Number T32DK062707).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government, the National Institutes of Health, or Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine (This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle S. Wong
    • 1
  • Carolyn M. Arnold
    • 2
  • Eric T. Roberts
    • 3
  • Craig E. Pollack
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.VA HSR&D Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation, & Policy (CSHIIP)Los AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Boston Medical CenterBostonUSA
  3. 3.School of Public HealthUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  4. 4.School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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