Children’s HealthWatch, in partnership with the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign, recently released two new policy briefs that highlight research on the health, educational, and financial consequences of eviction and unstable housing among families with children. The briefs call on Congress to pass evidence-based policies that promote access to stable, affordable homes. Authored by pediatricians and child health researchers, the briefs present evidence supporting the critical role of stable housing during early childhood and point to deep systemic inequities that have placed families of color at disproportionate risk for eviction and homelessness.
“As a pediatrician, one of the best things I can do for my patients is to help them prevent eviction and access stable, affordable housing,” said Dr. Megan Sandel, co-principal investigator for Children’s HealthWatch. “These are evidence-informed policies that make that reality for millions of American children and their families.”
Rooted in robust research on the topic, the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign and Children’s HealthWatch support solutions that would reduce housing instability and homelessness. Specifically, the bipartisan “Eviction Crisis Act” builds on evidence-based eviction prevention strategies to provide robust rental relief, legal assistance, and housing stability-related resources for families with the lowest incomes who face eviction. The “Ending Homelessness Act” and bipartisan “Family Stability and Opportunity Act” would invest in vouchers – notably those that enable families to move to high opportunity neighborhoods of their choosing – for millions of eligible renters currently unserved by federal housing programs. Furthermore, these bills reduce racial/ethnic health inequities by advancing policies that undo the harmful impact of residential housing segregation and discrimination.
“These policy briefs spearheaded by Children’s HealthWatch demonstrate the crucial importance of stable and affordable housing during the earliest years of life,” said Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO. “As these briefs lay out, we know which solutions are needed to tackle the problem. These solutions are deeply rooted in research and are well within our nation’s reach to implement at scale.”
The briefs provide evidence supporting actionable opportunities to prevent eviction and close the housing opportunity gap. Paired with deep investments in affordable and fair housing infrastructure, legislation is urgently needed to respond to longstanding racial inequities and advance an equitable recovery in light of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A quality affordable home located in a strong neighborhood is clearly linked to prevention of long-term health problems and promotes healthy, productive lives,” said Mike Koprowski, national director of the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign. “These excellent briefs show exactly why healthcare advocates must weigh in on matters of housing policy. After all, good housing is good health.”
Access the policy briefs here.
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