Affordable housing impacts education

Work continues on Lawrence Habitat's 80th home on Saturday.

Work continues on Lawrence Habitat's 80th home on Saturday. by Lindsey Slater

Last week, I broke down a study from the Center for Housing Policy on the impact that affordable housing has on the economy. Today, I’ll take a look at another study by the CHP – this one looks at the impacts of affordable housing on education.

Education is obviously a big deal in this town, being home to Kansas University, a large public school system and a few private schools, too. (And trust me, I’m well aware of Lawrence’s keen eye on education, having spent a few years as the K-12 education reporter for the Lawrence Journal-World.)

The Center for Housing Policy’s research summary makes note of a more and more research leans toward the idea that stable, affordable housing might give children more opportunities for education success. The study mentions that while schools and teachers are ones charged with teaching students, a supportive and stable home complements the efforts of educators. That ultimately leads to better student achievement.

There are just a few points I wanted to highlight from the research summary on this topic. Studies have started to associate overcrowding with reduced academic performance by children. Research finds that children who grow up in overcrowded housing have lower math and reading scores, finish fewer years of school and are less likely to graduate high school.

There are a few reasons behind these findings. Overcrowding might reduce how responsive parents are and that can lead to social overload and withdrawal. Another reason can be increased noise and chaos, interfering with a child’s studies and cognitive development.

Affordable housing can help families afford decent homes of their own, potentially helping their children increase their education achievement.

The other main point I picked out of the study’s summary is that well-built and maintained can help eliminate housing-related health hazards, like lead poisoning and asthma. Now, I know this is about affordable housing’s impact on education, but those health issues can lead to students missing school, ultimately affecting their learning. Poor housing conditions contribute to the incidence of asthma, another reason kids are absent from school.

So, not only does affordable housing impact economic development, it can also affect the education of future generations. You can read the entire summary here.

For the final part of my series on the impacts of affordable housing, I’ll break down a study on the affects it has on health.

Tagged: Lawrence, Habitat for Humanity, homeowners, poverty housing, housing, affordable housing, education

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