High housing costs, poor housing quality, overcrowded living conditions, unstable neighborhoods, residential mobility and episodes of homelessness all have detrimental impact on child and family well-being.


    Schools, healthcare facilities, neighborhood centers, and child and family services organizations can provide early identification of, and timely and appropriate responses to, indicators of housing distress.


To promote and facilitate access to stable housing as a base for improved child and family well-being.   

Last week, the New York Times posted an OP-ED piece by Nicholas Kristof, Too Small To Fail (June 2, 2016), in which he advocates strongly for universal preschool to combat poverty. He states some very significant research on the need for early childhood investments, because that is when the brain is developing most quickly.  My rebuttal was posted in the “Sunday Review” Section of the New York Times (June 12, 2016) as follows:

To the Editor:

As evidenced by recent articles, editorials and studies on how to achieve improved outcomes and school readiness for children born into poverty, access to preschool during the early years continues to be the primary focus. At the same time, there is an increasing body of research that overcrowded, substandard housing conditions, residential mobility, and stressors on parents when they must choose between paying the rent or feeding their children can have a lifelong impact on the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of young children.

Only when we begin to recognize that stable housing provides the vital platform for improved child and family well-being will we begin to make a dent in breaking the cycle of poverty that seems to be worsening and intractable. While access to preschool can certainly help, there is a serious communication gap here that demonstrates the pitfalls of working in silos.

TANYA TULL, President, Partnering for Change,
Los Angeles

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