In light of recent policy debates around funding food and housing subsidies, the combined influence of these programs on housing security (HS), defined as housing without crowding or frequent moves, remains unstudied. In a multi-city study of young children, federal nutrition and housing subsidies together increased the odds of HS, whereas loss of nutrition subsidies lowered the odds of HS even after controlling for housing subsidy receipt. Ensuring eligible families’ access to both nutrition and housing subsidies may sustain HS. The results of this study inform and support current efforts by states to streamline online applications for social services and remove statutory legal barriers to accessing these subsidies simultaneously.
Key Take Away Points
- The analyses in this study first focused on associations between receipt of housing subsidies, WIC and/or SNAP, and housing security, and compared six groups: (1) families receiving no benefits, (2) families receiving housing subsidies only, (3) families receiving WIC only, (4) families receiving housing subsidies and WIC, (5) families receiving WIC and SNAP, and (6) families receiving housing subsidies, WIC, and SNAP
- Overall, 51% of the sample was housing secure; prevalence varied across housing and food benefit subgroups, with a low of 42.0% for those receiving WIC only and a high of 72.6% for those receiving WIC, SNAP, and housing subsidy
- The results of this study reinforce that housing subsidies are a potent benefit for increasing housing security among low-income, urban families with young children
- Since housing security is a strong correlate of children’s health, and public assistance benefits described in this paper have similar income, immigration and other requirements, it should be possible to enroll eligible families through a single application process , which can save money while improving delivery efficiency
Megan T. Sandel, MD, MPH, is an Associate Professor at Boston University School of Medicine, the former Director of Pediatric Healthcare for the Homeless at Boston Medical Center, a principal investigator with Children’s HealthWatch and a nationally recognized expert on housing and child health. Dr. Sandel is also the Medical Director of the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership.
Diana Becker Cutts, MD, is the Assistant Chief of Pediatrics at Hennepin County Medical Center, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Cutts is also the Principal Investigator for the Children’s HealthWatch Minneapolis site at Hennepin County Medical Center.
Alan F. Meyers, MD, MPH, is a Professor at Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Meyers is also a Principal Investigator for Children’s HealthWatch Boston site. He has a special interest in the nutritional problems of low-income children, and has served as a staff physician with clinical programs in failure-to-thrive, pediatric AIDS, and overweight management (Nutrition and Fitness for Life).
Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, MPH, is the Research and Policy Director at Boston University School of Public Health, Data Coordinating Center
Sharon M. Coleman, MS, MPH, is the Research Manager, Boston University School of Public Health, Data Coordinating Center
Maureen M. Black, PhD, is the Scholl Family Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
Patrick H. Casey, MD, is the Harvey & Bernice Jones Professor of Developmental Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Pediatrics
Mariana Chilton, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor at Drexel School of Public Health, Center for Community Health & Prevention
John T. Cook, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
Amanda Shortell, MPH, is Master’s level Practicum Student, Children’s HealthWatch, Boston Medical Center
Timothy C. Heeren, PhD, is a Professor at Boston University School of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics
Deborah A. Frank, MD, is a Professor of Child Health and Well-Being at Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
All correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Megan T. Sandel, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Boston University School of Medicine, General Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, email: Megan.Sandel@bmc.org
We would like to thank Richard Sheward, Children’s HealthWatch Senior Policy Analyst, and Michelle Savuto, Children’s HealthWatch Policy Intern, for their generous time and assistance in editing and preparing this manuscript.
Sandel, Megan; Cutts, Diana; Meyers, Alan; Ettinger de Cuba, Stephanie; Coleman, Sharon; Black, Maureen M. Ph.D,; Casey, Patrick H.; Chilton, Mariana; Cook, John T.; Shortell, Amanda; Heeren, Timothy; and Frank, Deborah
"Co-enrollment for Child Health: How Receipt and Loss of Food and Housing Subsidies Relate to Housing Security and Statutes for Streamlined, Multi-Subsidy Application,"
Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk: Vol. 5
, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/childrenatrisk/vol5/iss2/2