Investment in Affordable Housing Lowers Children's Healthcare Costs

Public investment in affordable and stable housing, through rental assistance for food-insecure families, improves the health of infants and children and is associated with better health outcomes and lower spending on their healthcare, according to a new report from Children’s HealthWatch, a nonpartisan network of pediatricians, public health researchers, and children’s health and policy experts dedicated to improving children’s health in the United States.

“Homelessness is costly for families and society, keeping many young children from getting a healthy start in life,” the March 2016 report noted. “Rental assistance can make a significant difference for infants, especially those from highly vulnerable families.”

Previous research by Children’s HealthWatch demonstrated the harmful impact of homelessness on the health of young children and showed that negative health effects are made worse when a mother is homeless before and after her child is born. Children whose mothers were homeless when pregnant but were housed after their birth were 20% more likely to have been hospitalized since birth. Children who experienced postnatal homelessness were 22% more likely to have been hospitalized. And children who experienced both prenatal and postnatal homelessness were 41% more likely to have been hospitalized since birth.

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