Sarah Ford | December 12, 2013

How Crummy, Run-Down Housing Harms the Children Who Live in It

The housing crisis sounded all kinds of alarms for policymakers and the public about what happens when families can’t afford their homes, or when they lose the stability that a secure home provides. We’ve heard about the effects of foreclosures on neighborhoods, the weight of housing stress on human health, the impact of lost equity on household wealth for huge portions of the U.S. population.

How Crummy, Run-Down Housing Harms the Children Who Live in ItBut something has been absent in all this talk about how unstable housing in any form affects families.

“The attention raised by the mortgage crisis and the foreclosure crisis really missed a lot of central aspects of housing that are likely to be important for children,” says Rebekah Levine Coley, a professor in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College.

Notably, it’s the quality of housing – the presence of peeling paint or cockroaches, broken appliances or damaged walls – that most strongly predicts a child’s well-being and development.

Coley and colleagues from Tufts University identified this in research recently published in the journal Developmental Psychology. They looked at data on 2,400 low-income children in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio, as part of a six-year longitudinal study that had been designed to track child development within poor families in the years after welfare reform. Over that time, 1999-2005, researchers (Coley was one of the original investigators) collected all kinds of data on the environments those families lived in, as well as the behavioral, emotional and cognitive development of the children.

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Source: The Atlantic Cities Website

 

 

 

 

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