A report by Children’s HealthWatch and the Medical-Legal Partnership | Boston finds that subsidized housing plays a significant role in protecting young children from food insecurity and the health risks of being seriously underweight. This report confirms that increased support for subsidized housing must be a part of the strategy to end childhood hunger.

Rx for Hunger: Affordable Housing

These findings provide scientific evidence for the common-sense conclusion that when low-income families receive assistance in paying rent, they have more of the resources they need to raise healthy children. The visible difference in children’s weight and food security status associated with housing subsidies speaks to the importance of affordable housing as a public health investment.

The latest scientific evidence tells us that much of the foundation for children’s health and academic success is established in their first three years. As we seek to ensure that children arrive at school healthy and ready to learn, we cannot afford the harmful impacts of undernutrition in Boston’s children. Unfortunately, the risk that children will be undernourished is increasing. Between June 2007 and June 2009, Children’s HealthWatch saw food insecurity increase from 14 to 26.5 percent among families interviewed at its Boston research site. These difficult economic times make it more important than ever to declare that all children have a right to housing that does not rob them of adequate food and nutrition.