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Housing as a Health Care Investment: Affordable Housing Supports Children’s Health

Affordable and stable housing plays a critical role in supporting the health and well-being of children. Research from Children’s HealthWatch shows public investment in housing—including housing for homeless families and rental assistance for food-insecure families—improves the health outcomes of vulnerable infants and young children and lowers health care spending.

The findings show that homelessness and unstable or unaffordable housing can harm the health of vulnerable infants and young children and contribute to higher health care spending.

 

Key findings from the report:

  • Homelessness can result in worse health outcomes among children and is associated with more frequent and costly hospitalization than for children who never experience homelessness.
  • Infants from food-insecure families (vulnerable, low-income families with complex needs) who were eligible for rental assistance but did not receive it were more likely to be hospitalized than infants from similar families who did receive rental assistance.
  • Securing affordable and stable housing with rental assistance can have an important positive impacts on the health of infants from vulnerable families.

The report also includes several policy solutions that would expand access to affordable and decent housing for low-income families with children, protect the health of children and lower health care costs.