"Promoting housing affordability by combating exclusionary housing policies"



Many studies have found that housing problems—such as unsafe and unhealthful conditions, unaffordable housing costs, and neighborhoods isolated from high-performing schools and health facilities—are linked to increased developmental problems among low-income children. (Those children live in households that have incomes of 80 percent or less of their area’s median income.) Among the aspects of development involved are children’s health (physical, mental and emotional), safety, educational achievement, and general cognitive and behavioral development.

Because exclusionary housing policies raise major barriers to the production and preservation of adequate amounts of suitable housing, those policies:

  • substantially increase the number of low-income children who must live in unsafe, unhealthful, and/or overcrowded housing conditions, and in decaying and/or unsafe neighborhoods;
  • isolate many such children, and their neighborhoods, from most economic opportunities, and from high-performing schools and health facilities; and
  • raise housing prices (by 20 to 50 percent in many major metropolitan areas), making those prices unaffordable to low- and moderate-income families with children—thus causing economic instability in those families, and many involuntary, disruptive moves (usually to poorer neighborhoods).

EHI has prepared a memorandum summarizing how exclusionary housing policies aggravate housing problems that have been linked to those adverse effects. (To access EHI’s memorandum in its entirety, please click CHILDREN'S DEVELOPMENT & XHPs.) EHI concludes that eliminating exclusionary housing policies is a crucial aspect of improving low-income children’s development.

EHI’s analysis is based on an important new report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that summarizes in detail existing studies of housing and children’s development. (HUD PD&R, Evidence Matters: Housing’s and Neighborhoods’ Role in Shaping Children’s Future (Fall 2014) (“HUD 2014”), posted at: http://www.huduser.org/portal/periodicals/em/EM_Newsletter_fall_2014.pdf).