Stable Homes Make Healthy Families

Through the What If Project, Children’s HealthWatch is providing real and specific models of better policy futures, working toward our vision of a future where all children’s basic needs are met, sustaining their health and enabling them to reach their potential. For this brief, Children’s HealthWatch asked, “What healthcare and educational costs could be avoided if all families with children lived in a stable home?” and “Which policy solutions could create stable homes for healthier families?”

Unstable housing among families with children will cost the United States an estimated $111 billion in health and education expenditures over the next ten years, according to new Children’s HealthWatch research. This estimate is calculated based on the health-related costs of mothers and children who have either experienced homelessness, moved two or more times, or been behind on rent in the previous year. Costs linked to unstable housing include increased hospitalizations, ambulatory visits, dental procedures, mental health care for mothers and special education services for children.

Utilizing economic modeling, this research shows US health system will conservatively spend an estimated $76.8 billion caring for mothers experiencing worse physical and mental health and $34.3 billion treating children’s health due to the lack of a stable home over the next ten years if the high number of families currently living in unstable homes persists.

Recommended policy solutions:

  • Increase supply of affordable homes
  • Provide resources that help families meet the demands of rent.
  • Direct investments from health care to affordable homes

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