Panel Paper: The Impact of Foreclosure Prevention Policies on Preventive Care and Health Behaviors

Saturday, November 4, 2017
Wright (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Gabriel Pina and Maureen Pirog, Indiana University

A relative large body of literature shows how mortgage delinquency and foreclosure can negatively impact the well-being of individuals. Foreclosure and mortgage delinquency can have adverse effects on health, mental health, and risky health behaviors. During the financial crisis, several new public and private mortgage assistance programs were implemented in an attempt to prevent the large increase in foreclosures across the nation. Recent research finds that these programs are associated with lower rate of foreclosures and delinquencies, but no research has examined the impact of these policies on health outcomes. This study attempts to fill this gap by studying the impact the Hardest Hit Fund, a 2010 program that provided $7.6 billion of funding to 18 states that were most severely affected by the foreclosure crisis. Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, we estimate a difference-in-differences model that compares states that did and did not receive HHF funds for a subset of potentially eligible low income homeowners. We examine the impact of the program on preventive care (e.g., routine checkup), risky health behaviors (e.g., smoking, heavy drinking), and self-assessed health. Preliminary results show that the program increased the use of certain forms of preventive care and improved self-assessed health, but there is no evidence of an impact on risky health behaviors, neither on any mental health outcome.