Creating Housing Environments and Supportive Housing Services for Young Children
The Administration for Children & Families, in partnership with CSH, has created a supportive housing assessment tool and guide “designed to help supportive services and property management staff to create environments and supportive services that are safe and developmentally appropriate for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.”
The guide, entitled Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Supportive Housing, provides recommendations on how supportive housing services can be improved to meet the needs of young children.
There is a significant population of young children experiencing homelessness in New Jersey.
NJCounts 2016, the statewide point in time count of the homeless found 1,071 children between ages zero to five. The homeless children and their families lived in homeless shelters, were un-sheltered or in transitional living programs.
If more supportive housing was available across the state, children experiencing homelessness would benefit from moving into supportive housing with their families.
Imagine how difficult it is for a parent living in a shelter or on the couch of family or friends to find the time to read to their young children?
Or participate in other educational activities that help young children with the skills they need to start kindergarten?
The guide outlines focuses on six areas where supportive housing can be assessed including:
- Tenant Centered Housing and Services for Families with Children
- Health and Safety
- Wellness and Development
- Workforce Standards
- Training and Collaboration
- Food and Nutrition
According to the guide,
“Supportive housing for families with young children is an ideal environment to increase parent/caregiver understanding of how they can positively impact early learning. Being exposed to a safe, stable, and developmentally appropriate environment while young is important to healthy development since brain development occurs rapidly from birth to five.”
The hope is that the tool will assist supportive housing providers in improving policies, procedures and service delivery alongside the parents and caregivers to create a quality environment for young children.
The Administration for Children & Families is part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.