Supportive Housing is an Investment

Aid to the Poor is an Investment
Housing Assistance Has Lasting Impact

Supportive Housing is an InvestmentSupportive housing and homeless assistance are an investment according to Jared Bernstein of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) in an article in the NY Times entitled “How Aid to the Poor is An Investment.”

Writes Bernstein in the NY Times column,

“An interesting debate is percolating in the evaluation of our federal antipoverty programs. President Obama’s recent emphasis on the problem of high inequality and low upward mobility has forced conservatives to join that debate, and they’ve developed a meme that, at the risk of straining the metaphor, goes like this:

Our current spate of anti-poverty programs operate more like a hammock than a safety net when what we really need is a trampoline.”

Related to the issue of homelessness, writes Bernstein

”Housing assistance is also found to have positive, lasting investment-type impacts, especially when compared with the damage to children who experience homelessness, overcrowding and frequent moves that involve changing school systems.”

Supportive housing and affordable housing both prevent and end homelessness. Giving a child his or her own space to do homework and eat a family meal will have a lasting impact. Both supportive housing and affordable housing are critical investments with a positive long-term return.

Bernstein concludes,

‘… If we want to correctly understand and evaluate the impact of policies currently helping poor families, we need to recognize that often what looks like consumption is actually investment. Both functions are important, for stomachs today and for souls tomorrow.’

Click here for the full Times blog post.