The Hidden Costs of the Housing Crisis Report

Dec 16, 2008

The recent shocks in the housing market, and the reverberations from the foreclosure crisis, have brought to the surface a set of housing affordability issues that have long affected young children's odds of life success. For all of us, housing is more than just walls, a roof, and place to eat and sleep. It is the place where we think, learn, grow, and relax, form key relationships and bonds, and join together for common causes. For young children, for whom these are key life building blocks, these activities, and thus the quality of their home, are critical. Not to mention the potential harm from exposure to lead, asthma triggers, broken windows or exposed wires. Unfortunately, stagnant wages for their parents, skyrocketing housing prices, and recent increases in two other key basics - food and fuel - have made decent, stable housing increasingly out-of-reach for an increasing number of children. In this study, Joydeep Roy of the Economic Policy Institute and Melissa Maynard and Elaine Weiss of the Pew Center on the States assess the various ways that housing quality, affordability, and policy impacts children, and thus society, in the long-term. They find substantial evidence of reduced odds of success for children who lack stable and healthy homes in their earliest years. However, the research also suggests that policies aimed at prevention will do much to save dollars spent on remediation down the line.
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