Strengthening America’s Families through Affordable Housing

 

Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities

The National Center for Housing and Child Welfare fully supports the youth voice. This means supporting the sophisticated policy requests youth suggest. Hence, we support The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities(FSHO) Act of 2018 which was written by the Ohio Youth Advisory Board and introduced by Reps. Turner and Bass in the House and Sens. Grassley and Kaine in the Senate. This legislation guarantees a Housing Choice Voucher as a platform for independence through age 25 for every young person aging out of foster care who needs a housing subsidy to make ends meet. Reintroduction and passage of FSHO is a top priority for NCHCW when the 116th Congress reconvenes in January 2019.

Because housing stability is intertwined with self-sufficiency, young people with stable housing are better able to stay in school and maintain employment (Johnson et al., 2010;
Sommer, Wu, and Mauldon, 2009)
— HUD's Housing for Youth Report

Housing and Child Welfare

If you are interested in the intersection of housing and child welfare, you’ve come to the right place. But might we also recommend this excellent overview from CW360, the journal of University of Minnesota School of Social Work. 

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What is the Family Unification Program?

The Family Unification Program aims to provide the child welfare system with the resources necessary to prevent family separation due to homelessness and to prevent homelessness among aging-out youth. Eligible families include those families who are in imminent danger of losing their children to foster care primarily due to housing problems and families who are unable to regain custody of their children primarily due to housing problems.  Eligible youth include those who were in foster care anytime after the age of 16 who are currently between the ages of 18- 21 (have not reached their 26th birthday) and are homelessness or at risk of homelessness. .

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Why Housing?

NCHCW focuses heavily on housing because history, research, and reports from the field indicate that housing instability is a major problem among child welfare families - triggering removal, delaying reunification, and creating conditions that lead to deleterious effects on child well-being. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (2018), housing problems are commonplace among child welfare families; one in ten foster children are removed due to inadequate housing. We have a solid base of evidence to indicate that solving family housing problems reduces caseloads, improves family well-being, and results in significant cost savings (Harburger & White, 2004; Farrell, 2016; Fowler, 2017; Littel & Scheurman, 2004; Shinn, 2016, U.S. Children’s Bureau, 2017).

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Our Work

We seek to ensure that no family ever loses their children to foster as a consequence of their inability to afford safe, decent housing. We also seek to ensure that all youth who leave foster care have access to safe, decent, affordable housing - not a PLAN for housing - but access. This often requires participation from community partners. Learn more here.

 
 
 

Independent living without housing is like driver’s education without a car.

— Mark Kroner, Author of Housing Options for Independent Living

 
 
 
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Housing Options for Youth

Youth leaving foster care need to be prepared for reality economically and socially. Being ready for independence and hoping for adoption are not mutually exclusive.