Indicators of HOUSING INSTABILITY are:IMG_2301

Severe rent burden

Poor housing quality (substandard housing)


Shared housing (sub families) 

Forced displacement 


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; otherwise living in housing that has characteristics associated with instability and an increased risk of homelessness; and literal homelessness, but often not qualifying for homeless assistance due to differing definitions of homelessness by both the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and other federal departments.


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 – but is perhaps better defined by the term “forced displacement.” For many poor households, residential mobility/forced displacement 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.


Video: “Pushed Out: Displacement Today and Lasting Impacts” (October 2017)

UC Berkeley Urban Displacement Project, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and The Great Communities Collaborative.

“Pushed Out” is a short explainer video that helps paint a clearer picture of displacement and its long-term impacts. Why an explainer video on displacement? Displacement is a misunderstood crisis, and there are a few key things often missing when we talk about it… For starters, displacement happens in many different ways – we can’t effectively fight it until we learn to recognize it in all its forms. Displacement is not just evictions, but also lots of other pressures that force people to move. And displacement is not just a one-time unfortunate event — it has long-lasting impacts for families and their opportunities, with low-income people and people of color often being hardest hit. We need to help ensure that as new investments take shape across our cities and regions, these investments generate healthy and equitable opportunities for everyone.