Defining Housing Instability

HOUSING INSTABILITY is generally defined as IMG_2301

High housing costs in relation to income

Poor housing quality (substandard housing)

Overcrowding

Sub Families (shared housing with another family)

Residential mobility

Homelessness


Housing instability may be evidenced by:

Frequent moves because of economic reasons; living in the home of another because of economic hardship; being evicted from a private dwelling unit (including housing a family owns, rents, or lives in without paying rent, are sharing with others, and rooms or motels not paid for by Federal, State, or local government programs for low-income families or by charitable organizations); living in a hotel or motel not paid for by Federal, State, or local government programs for low-income families or by charitable organizations; living in severely overcrowded housing; or otherwise living in housing that has characteristics associated with instability and an increased risk of homelessness.

A  family experiencing housing instability may not be homeless and could currently have a place to live but face multiple on-going difficulties, both personal and economic, associated with maintaining that residence. As described by Dr. Megan Sandel and Dr. Deborah A. Frank, Children’s HealthWatch, “housing insecurity” quantifies less visible forms of housing stress than homelessness, such as doubling up with other families for economic reasons, overcrowding, or moving two or more times in a year. “Residential mobility” is another sign of housing instability. For many poor households, residential mobility is largely unplanned and unpredictable, and is often a result of family stress, inability to pay rent and bills, and poor quality or unsafe housing.