Affordable Housing and The Effects on Families and Communities – Part 3

In this part of our series we will speak on the many ways that affordable housing and housing stability impacts the education of children.

Housing instability and homelessness can seriously affect a child’s performance and chances of success in school. Those students who do experience this hypermobility have been shown to perform statistically below other children of low-income families. Recently, in one particular year, over 1.1 million youth have been identified as homeless. These are the students who are more likely than peers to repeat grades, not be engaged in the classroom, drop out of school and suffer from behavior problems and learning disabilities. These kids are always under stress having to struggle to catch up, if their record of attendance can let them catch up at all. This is all compounded by the traumas often associated with homelessness such as family violence and economic crisis.

Communities with schools that have the greatest population of hypermobile children are often subject to the entire student population suffering. Catching up and review work are a staple. It is found that teacher morale is lower in these types of schools than those with less-mobile populations. These factors have a direct impact on all students in those schools.

Even one move, one new address, can have a long-lasting, negative effect on educational achievement. A recent study of over 8,000 primarily low-income urban students in Tennessee found that for every residential move before second grade, students’ math and reading scores were lower than those of their peers. More disturbingly, this achievement gap was not made up over time. This is especially concerning when this study showed that poorer children were more than likely to move multiple times compared to more advantaged peers.

The solution is quality, affordable housing. This creates a stable environment for children and reduces family moves, thus avoiding the negative impact that moving can have on educational achievement. The stability can serve as a platform for supplementary educational programs. Helping vulnerable children will provide better access to educational resources. Having the ability to participate in after-school programs serves as an anchor for broader community development.

Affordable housing can solve many of societies ills, especially those that plague children. Education, being one of the biggest factors in the betterment of our communities, is positively affected by that stability this housing can bring.

In our next discussion we will raise the topic of Housing Stability and Health.