Public housing demolition and premature death

Study finds seniors moved from public housing may die more quickly than those who stay behind.

In April, three Georgia State sociology professors testified to Congress about preserving public housing.

The most disturbing portion of their testimony concerns the plight of seniors relocated from senior high-rise public housing. It appears the stress and unhappiness associated with unwanted moves may be shortening the lives of local seniors who rely on public assistance for a place to live.

We have found that the relocation process for seniors is especially difficult and stressful and many feel isolated in their new locations. In addition, only 29 percent of the seniors we interviewed prior to relocation expressed the desire to move. Relocation has been particularly hard on the seniors with chronic health conditions. Twelve seniors in our study have died since moving compared to only two in our comparison non-relocating public housing senior high rise. There were also needed community supports in the senior high rises that are not as readily accessible to the relocated seniors. As one 90 year-old lady who was relocated far from her social support networks and needed services told us, “This is the nicest apartment I’ve ever lived in and I can’t wait to get out. I just want to go back to Palmer House.”

If you’ve followed the story of Atlanta’s demolition of its public housing, the entire report is worth reading.


(H/T Atlanta Progressive News)