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Infants Exposed To Homelessness: Health, Health Care Use, And Health Spending From Birth To Age Six

May 2019

Robin E. Clark, Linda Weinreb, Julie M. Flahive, Robert W. Seifert


As one might expect, homeless infants experience poor health outcomes. This article mentions that children exposed to homelessness or unstable housing were more likely to have adverse childhood experiences as well as higher risks of depression, suicide, alcoholism, and smoking later in life. Homelessness (during pregnancy and the first year of life) is also associated with low birth rates and other negative health outcomes in toddlers and children. Homelessness has a much greater impact on infant health than just low income alone

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Policy Implications

The article suggests implementing better screenings that could more easily identify unstably-housed pregnant women/those at risk of becoming homeless, followed by immediate health interventions to prevent any negative health outcomes for the child. Housing vouchers, rapid rehousing, and other government housing interventions may also help to prevent these issues.

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