Housing advocates in Columbus, Ohio join Housing America’s pressure to improve housing conditions for the benefit of improving and protecting children’s health and educational success.
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Embargo for release until Wednesday, April 7, 12 p.m. EST
March 31, 1999
Contact: Media Contact, Organization, Phone number
Lisa Chen, Tommy McDonald, 415-255-1946
B-roll footage of substandard housing, rat infestation, and doctors examining kids can be downlinked at 3 pm EST, April 7 by calling 415-255-1946
Children of More Than 26,000 Columbus Families At Risk of Disease, Death, Injury, and Educational Failure From Inadequate Housing, New Report Finds
Nearly 5 Million Kids Nationwide Suffer from Lack of Affordable Housing – A Significant Predictor of Kids’ Health and Academic Performance, New National Report Finds
What: Press Conference
When: Wednesday, April 7, 1999, noon
Where: Capitol Atrium at the Ohio Statehouse
Who: Bill Faith, Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio
Ed Krauss, Greater Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce
Linda Neugebauer, Columbus Montessori Education Center
Bill Dolen, Ohio Hunger Task Force
Columbus, OH — Hundreds of thousands of America’s children are suffering from disease, hunger, serious injury, and educational failure from living in substandard shelter as the housing crisis worsens for their families, says a new nationwide report by Housing America and the Doc4Kids Project. Simultaneous press conferences in Columbus, OH, St. Louis, MO, Washington, DC, Syracuse, NY and San Francisco, CA will be held Wednesday, April 7 to release the report and to launch a national field campaign to increase funding for affordable housing.
The shortage of affordable housing faced by more than 12.5 million Americans last year — nearly a third of them children — is among the most significant predictors of children’s health, concludes the report, which was authored by physicians at Boston Medical Center and housing experts at Housing America, a new national grassroots field campaign committed to making housing affordable for families. In the past two years alone, an estimated 1.5 million low-cost housing units have been lost to the rental market, according to the report. Moreover, the housing crisis has spread from urban centers and the suburbs to America’s heartland, including Columbus, OH, where 746 federally subsidized housing units have been lost since 1997.
“An estimated 15,000 Columbus residents spend more than half their income on rent. When families cannot afford safe and affordable housing, it’s the children who suffer the most,” said Bill Faith, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. “An estimated 23,000 households in the Columbus metropolitan area have incomes less than 50% of the area median. In most cases, these same households pay over half of their incomes for rent or are living in substandard housing units.”
There’s No Place Like Home: How America’s Housing Crisis Threatens Our Children, the first report to take a comprehensive look at the link between affordable housing and children’s health, includes previously unreleased data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as research from the Centers for Disease Control, leading medical and public health journals and firsthand observation by pediatricians across the country.
Among the key findings of the report:
- 21,000 children have stunted growth and 120,000 children suffer from anemia because their families must choose between food and rent.
- 10,000 children between the ages of 4 and 9 are hospitalized for asthma attacks each year because of cockroach infestation at home.
- 2.5 million IQ points will be lost among children ages 1-5 from lead poisoning, with virtually all affected children poisoned at home.
- Children who are forced to move from school to school because their families are unable to obtain affordable housing are significantly more likely to fail a grade and have behavioral problems.
In light of these findings, Housing America urges Congress to:
- Provide 100,000 new Section 8 vouchers.
- Protect affordable housing stock at risk of conversion or deterioration by approving HR 425 (Vento, D-MN), which would provide matching federal funds to states and localities for such initiatives.
- Increase the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) by approving HR 175 (R-CT) and amending the legislation to assist more families at or below the federal poverty line.
- Ensure affordable housing for kids with severe asthma or chronic diseases by earmarking a $50 million Section 8 certificate reserve for their families.
- Eliminate the “shelter deduction cap” so families forced to pay high market rents receive their fair allocation of food stamps.