To support early childhood development, invest in housing

A growing body of research is demonstrating what we already intuitively know: that our children will have a much brighter future if they begin the journey of life in a decent, affordable home. Investments to improve housing quality and affordability for families with children can help set the stage for success later in life. Alternatively, failure to make these investments can result in lasting damage.

Families who devote so much of their income to rent often cannot afford other essentials like nutritious food and medicine that can impact child health and development. According to Children’s HealthWatch, young children who had moved two or more times over a 12-month period were more likely to be “food insecure,” in fair or poor health, at risk for developmental delays, and seriously underweight.

Compared to those living in more stable homes, children who experience residential instability underperform academically, develop weaker vocabulary skills, and engage in more problem behaviors. As they grow older, these children have higher high school dropout rates and achieve less economic success.

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