ARCHES program addresses housing, climate, and health in Latino communities

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has provided one of its first Hispanic Serving Institutions Center of Excellence grants to create the Arizona Research Center for Housing Equity and Sustainability or ARCHES program.

The $3 million program will be located at Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy and the University of Arizona. The program will focus on the intersection of housing, climate, and health among the Hispanic community and other underserved communities.

We talked with Alison Cook-Davis, Co-Director of ARCHES, and Deirdre Pfeiffer, an Associate Professor in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, about ARCHES.

“This is important because we have some pretty high needs related to housing in our Hispanic communities within the state. One of them is Hispanic households are less likely to be homeowners in Arizona than households who are non-Hispanic Whites,” Pfeiffer said.

Northern Arizona University and the University of New Mexico are also partners in the research, Cook-Davis said.

“Some of the drivers that we are going to be exploring are the role of housing discrimination that might be happening when households go to buy a home and are interacting with different people that are a part of that process. We are also going to be exploring the language that people are using to talk about housing of people coming into Arizona,” Pfeiffer said.

In Hispanic communities that are in underserved areas, higher heat temperatures of up to a five degree temperature difference have been recorded, Cook-Davis said.

“We are looking at how housing impacts this, specifically looking at indoor heat and how there are factors around the house that can exacerbate heat, therefore impact both health and even the financial disparity of having to pay the high cost of energy,” Cook-Davis said.

Other topics of research will be the types of materials a home is made of and looking at where homes are located that deeply impacts health and the quality of life. Having access to hospitals and fresh food affects a person’s well-being too, Pfeiffer said.

Alison Cook-Davis, Co-Director of ARCHES
Deirdre Pfeiffer, Associate Professor, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, ASU

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