Panel: Emerging Evidence on the Impact of Housing Instability on Individual and Family Well-Being
(Housing, Community Development, and Urban Policy)

Saturday, November 10, 2018: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
8222 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Michael Lens, University of California, Los Angeles
Discussants:  Robert Collinson, New York University and Brielle Bryan, Harvard University

Locked out: Exploring Residential Evictions As a Pathway to Homelessness
Stephanie Casey Pierce, The Ohio State University

Temporal Trends in Hospital Use and Homeless Shelter Entry
Dan Treglia1, Kelly Doran2, Eileen Johns3,4 and Maryanne Schretzman3,4, (1)New York City Department of Homeless Services, (2)New York University, (3)City of New York, (4)New York City Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services

Housing instability takes many forms, from homelessness to “couch-hopping”—living with friends or acquaintances without establishing a permanent residence—to frequent moves driven by financial difficulties, housing quality, safety concerns, or all three. While policymakers, academics, and practitioners are often “siloed” into their particular research areas, the study of housing instability highlight the connections among diverse policy areas such as health policy, child and family policy, crime policy, and housing policy. Despite a growing body of literature on the impacts of housing instability on individuals and families, many questions remain unanswered.

The proposed panel includes four papers, which draw upon different methodological perspectives, that examine how housing instability affects family and individual outcomes. One paper focuses on the relationship between residential evictions and homelessness, concentrating on the comparisons among tenants who rent on the private market and tenants who rent on the subsidized market and tenants with and without histories of incarceration. The paper uses two sources of randomization—Housing Choice Voucher applicant lotteries and the random assignment of magistrates to eviction cases—to examine the effect of eviction on homelessness. A second paper also focuses on evictions, but with an eye toward the prevalence of evictions among children. The authors of this paper use a population-based panel study of children born in 20 large U.S. cities between 1998-2000. They find that approximately 1 in 4 children born into poverty experienced an eviction by their 15th birthdays. The third paper also focuses on children, using qualitative methods to explore the mechanisms that drive the well-being of children who experience homelessness. This study draws upon 80 semi-structured interviews with mothers who participated in an experimental housing intervention study. Early results indicate that many children who exhibit worse behavioral and educational outcomes during a shelter stay bounce back afterward. Mothers perceived that changes in housing quality environments explained changes in their children’s behavior. Moreover, connecting families with stable, independent housing reduced parental stress. The final paper examines the relationship between healthcare and homelessness, finding a confluence of simultaneous healthcare and housing crises. The authors reach this conclusion by investigating hospital use immediately before and after first-time homeless shelter stays by 110,000 New York City adults. They find that nearly 40% of shelter entrants and exiters using the hospital before or after homelessness. Though rates of adult hospital use were consistent regardless of the presence of a child in the household, women were more likely than men. Combined, these papers draw upon several policy areas to examine the nature and impact of housing instability in the United States.

The two discussants have each conducted research on housing instability from different perspectives. The first discussant studies public and labor economics and has published or presented research on evictions, housing choice vouchers, low-income housing policy. The second discussant has conducted research on housing instability following incarceration, child welfare receipt, and family well-being. Drawing upon their expertise, the discussants will reflect on findings and comment on their relevance to current policy.