Impact of Family Homelessness on Children

USICH Releases Brief About Impact of Housing Instability on Family Homelessness

The short and long-term impacts of family homelessness along with the solutions that work are outlined in an U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) brief.

Many of us and our families take for granted having a safe, stable and affordable home.

The health and education of children in families who experience homelessness is negatively impacted by their housing instability.

Key findings around the impact of family homelessness on children include:

  • Children’s health is particularly vulnerable to the impact of housing instability and homelessness.
  • Children and youth experiencing homelessness and housing instability are less likely to be academically successful, and less likely to graduate from high school and make it to and through college.
  • Episodes of homelessness cause family separations, compounding the effects of housing instability on children.

Fortunately, we know what the solution is – providing families experiencing homelessness with stable, affordable housing. Affordable housing can benefit children for a lifetime and eliminate needless suffering.

Housing assistance helps lift households out of poverty, and consequently impacts health.

The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s ongoing five-year Family Options Study shows that providing families experiencing homelessness with access to a permanent housing subsidy leads to significant spillover effects, including dramatic reductions in family separations, domestic violence, psychological distress, food insecurity, and school mobility — all of which have powerful impacts on child well-being.

The President’s FY 2017 budget calls for significant new investments necessary to achieve that goal, including:

  • $11 billion in mandatory funding over 10 years to provide both short-term rapid re-housing subsidies and services and longer-term Housing Choice vouchers for families experiencing homelessness
  • $2 billion in mandatory funding over the next five years to test new approaches for providing emergency aid to families facing significant financial hardship and crises
  • $112 million in increases in discretionary spending to provide Housing Choice vouchers targeted to families experiencing homelessness and to create new rapid re-housing opportunities.

We know that housing assistance, through the federal Housing Choice Voucher program, helps lift households out of poverty, and consequently impacts health. Research shows that supporting children’s educational success in their younger years, also helps reduce the likelihood of repeated experiences of homelessness.

USICH Brief on Homelessness

Family Options Study

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