Method: The study used the 2018 Annual Survey of Refugees data (N=5,260) for refugees aged 16 years and older refugees who entered the U.S between 2013 and 2018. To explore an association between living in the public housing (no/yes) and specific sociodemographic characteristics (i.e., age, gender, marital status, education, employment, English proficiency, health status, receiving welfare programs, year of arrival, state of resettlement, and whether adjusted to permanent residence status) all categorical variables were examined using logistic regression analysis.
Results: The results indicated that refugees who were between 40 and 54 years old (OR=.56, p<.05) and 55 or older (OR=.52, p<.05) had higher odds of living in the public housing when compared to those between 0 to 17 years old. Females (OR=.72, P<.01) had higher odds of living in public housing when compared to their male counterparts. The refugees who were never married (OR=64, p<.01) had higher odds of living in public housing compared to married refugees. Refugees who had attained primary education (OR=.39, p<.001), vocational training (OR=.33, p<.001), and a university degree or others (OR=25, p<.001) had higher odds of living in the public housing when compared with refugees with no education. Regarding health status, refugees with poor health conditions (OR=1.29, p<.05) had the highest odds of living in public housing when compared to refugees in good health conditions. Finally, refugees who resettled in the Midwest (OR=,72, p<.05) had higher odds of living in the public housing when compared to refugees who resettled in the Northeast.
Conclusion and implications: Accessing affordable public housing provides safety and security for refugees during the critical resettlement period. This study highlights the need to plan in advance to meet the housing needs, avoid spending a prolonged period in reception accommodation (public housing) and provide readily available job opportunities and access to education to improve their English proficiency for refugees. In addition, access to education also increases self-reliance and job prospects that can lead to financial independence and access to suitable housing and avoid overcrowded public housing, which appears to be a major social problem in the United States for newly resettled refugees.