Nursing in Washington

What We Know About Housing in Washington

Housing options are a key SDOH and play a role in health outcomes [9]. For those who do not have housing options, homelessness may result. One cause of homelessness is a lack of affordable housing. Homelessness is defined as a person who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence [10]. In Washington State, a 2019 point in time homeless count indicated 21,577 people experience both sheltered and unsheltered homelessness [11]. These estimates vary in our state's different geographical regions [12].

Homelessness and affordable housing may be an issue in the community you live and work in and can affect the patients' health outcomes. Linking data from the community or population you serve, along with your experiences, and patient stories, helps frame the level of support needed for those experiencing housing difficulties.

Explore Washington Data

As you explore these data, here are some discussion points to consider:

• Consider the geographical area and resources available where you work. Does your patient population have trouble affording rent, or is there a large homeless population? Is this impacting your ability to discharge patients because people have nowhere to go for discharge? 

• If homeless, does your patient population have adequate refrigeration for medication or a place to prepare medically appropriate food? Incorporating the right screening questions into your assessment can inform the patient's plan of care. For example, patients faced with homelessness may need an immediate safe place, a Section eight waiting list, or a case manager to mitigate the situation.

Explore the Data

Use the dropdown menu to change the map by indicator.

Use the three dots in the upper right side of the map to download and share.

Housing Indicators

Other Resources

•  Washington Tracking Network IBL Mapping Tool for health disparities information | An interactive tool to identify health disparities in a community. This tool should not be used to diagnose a health issue or label a community

•  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings | County health snapshots of economic and social factors

About the Data

The following existing public data sources were used:

• Homelessness data is from the Washington Annual Point in Time Count.

• Cost-burdened housing data was calculated by LiveStories from the American Community Survey (ACS), table B25106. The calculation sums all housing units where housing costs comprise 30% or more of the occupants' household income, and also sums households with zero or negative income. This sum is then divided by the total number of occupied housing units and multiplied by 100. For owner-occupied housing units, the costs are monthly owner costs; for renter-occupied units, the costs are gross rent.


9. Swope, C. B., & Hernández, D. (2019). Housing as a determinant of health equity: A conceptual model. Social science & medicine (1982), 243, 112571.

10. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Henry, M., Watt, R., Mahathey, A., Ouellette, J., Sitler, J., & Abt Associates. (2019). The 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, Part 1: Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness. Retrieved, The 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, Part 1: Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness ( 

11. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2020, May 18). Estimates of Homelessness. Retrieved, 

12. Washington State Department of Health. (2018). Washington State Health Assessment, Homelessness & Inadequate Housing. Retrieved, SHA-HomelessnessandInadequateHousing.pdf (