Pulse on Policy

Housing First Puts Children First

While many of us look forward to going home for the holiday season, some families have no place to call home. Homelessness is a serious problem that impacts thousands of families and children in the United States.


According to data reported to the U.S. Department of Education, during the 2016-2017 school year an estimated 32,133 public school students in Missouri experienced homelessness over the course of the year. Children experience adverse consequences from homelessness, including negative impacts to health, behavioral and educational outcomes.


Permanent housing is associated with greater stability that benefits children and positively influences the ability of families to access needed resources. Strategies that prioritize re-housing have been found successful at helping families achieve permanent housing, which supports children’s social and educational needs.


The Housing First approach recognizes that people experiencing homelessness first need the safety and stability of a home in order to address other challenges. The model calls for rapid placement in homes, without mandating any prerequisites.  A new policy brief by the Clark-Fox Policy Institute, Housing First Puts Children First, explores the merits of Housing First as an intervention to reduce homelessness, particularly for families with children.