Negative Results of Housing Instability

Homelessness and Eviction Cause Housing Instability

A new brief, Stabilizing Children’s Lives, from the Urban Institute explores the current state of research on housing instability (those unintentional, unpredictable, and undesirable changes in housing, income, family composition, etc).

The report found that 10% of low income children lived in their current place of residence for less than 6 months (compared to 6.5% when observing all children).

Homelessness and eviction are just two factors that can affect a household’s instability.

  • Stress and lack of resources that result from housing instability can impair childhood development, increase absenteeism, reduce upward mobility, etc.
  • The severity of these consequences varies by a variety of factors that can buffer or intensify the results of instability.
  • For example, living in a neighborhood with access to resources can help remedy problems that arise, while living in concentrated poverty can exacerbate these issues.

The findings were the result of interviews with 60 experts in the field, which were supplemented by reviews of the literature.

The authors also highlighted areas research has yet to address, such as: which children are more likely to experience instability in multiple arenas?

Instability can be addressed by preventing it in the first place and reducing it. It can also be addressed by detecting instability through early warning signals. Working across sectors to develop and implement strategies is another solution.

Households at risk of instability, including instability caused by homelessness and eviction, may have adults who struggle with mental illness and substance and may be households where a parent has been lost through deportation, incarceration, divorce, death, etc.

The Urban Institute’s mission is to Urban’s mission is to open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.

Stabilizing Children’s Lives,

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