Beyond housing policy: Human service policies to address housing instability
The Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse (SSRC) sponsored a webinar, Beyond Housing Policy: Human Service Policies to Address Housing Instability, on March 7, 2018, 2:00-3:30pm EST. The webinar focused on human service policies and programs that may directly influence low-income and vulnerable families’ housing stability. There is a well-established connection between consistent, stable, and affordable housing and positive family physical, emotional, and economic well-being. Housing instability – frequent moves because of social, familial, financial, mental health, and violence related issues – is common among low-income households and other vulnerable populations such as recently incarcerated individuals. A lack of stable housing is linked to increased food insecurity, mental health barriers, physical hardships, and poorer education outcomes for children. These negative outcomes become more prevalent and extreme when housing instability leads to homelessness. While there is little argument over housing stability and its connection to family self-sufficiency, there is less clarity on how to efficiently and effectively address this housing challenge. The supply of affordable housing has declined while overall levels of housing instability have increased. There is evidence showing how housing subsidies for low-income individuals increase housing stability, but less than 25 percent of the 19 million eligible households receive this support. In addition, waiting lists for housing subsidies and other forms of assistance can be up to three years long. Given these challenges, it is important to understand the potential of other human services supports and policies, besides housing assistance, to promote positive housing outcomes for low-income individuals.