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Housing Policy and Family Well-Being

Increasingly, housing’s role in supporting family and community wellbeing is being recognized by policymakers, researchers, community groups, and the Administration.  New resources continue to document the link, and federal programs build on this connection by fostering interagency collaboration. 
The Center for the Study of Social Policy released a new set of resources today that reinforce the connection between housing policy and family well-being.  The new resources include the addition of affordable housing to child and family topics on, and a paper, Affordable Housing as a Platform for Family Well-Being.
Like all of the topics on, the Affordable Housing section is framed around improving outcomes for children.  The idea that affordable housing is now included alongside more focused child welfare topics such as child abuse prevention and teen pregnancy reduction shows that housing’s importance is starting to resonate beyond the usual housing advocacy organizations.  People already engaged in housing policy may find the site useful for showing policymakers why they should care about housing.  Those working in other fields may learn what some strong housing strategies and funding approaches look like.
For anyone interested in strengthening neighborhoods, the new paper is a must-read.  It argues that housing itself it not sufficient, but that comprehensive community development approaches can provide a more complete foundation for family success.  Building on existing research (including some recent Center for Housing Policy reports), the paper documents the importance of neighborhood conditions, the problems posed by concentrated poverty, and some tools available to support comprehensive neighborhood improvements.  Federal programs described in the paper include Choice Neighborhoods, Sustainable Communities, and the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. Such efforts are all part of a suite of initiatives that encourage collaboration among agencies in housing and fields like education, the environment, transportation, and economic development—policy areas previously addressed within in their own silos but now increasingly practiced as part of a comprehensive policy strategy.  And, to bring it all back to the communities where people live, examples from Louisville, Atlanta, Chicago, Lansing, New Orleans, New York City, and Baltimore show what family-focused community development looks like in practice. 
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