News & Events

Why Does Home Matter?

06/23/14 at 05:17 PM by Jillian Hanes

When someone mentions the word “home,” differing images of this place come to mind for each one of us.  For some, it’s our childhood, and others it’s our current living situation.  Whether these images of home are happy or painful, we know this is a place that greatly influences and affects nearly every major facet of our lives including health, education, success, public safety, and the local economy.  For this reason, Neighborhood Housing Services believes that Home Matters.  We have aligned our organization with this national movement – Home Matters® –  that focuses on raising awareness and funds to make Home a reality for everyone. NHS is committed to helping Idahoans understand how stable homes are the key to thriving communities, and empowering them with tools and opportunities to work toward achieving a safe, sustainable place to live  – changing many of their images of Home to a place of health and security.

Health

A safe, updated home is vital to our overall health.  According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report Commission To Build A Healthier America, the following are just a few examples of substandard housing conditions that can cause these dangerous health issues:

  • Cold indoor conditions have been associated with poorer health, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Water leaks, poor ventilation, dirty carpets and pest infestation can lead to an increase in mold, mites and other allergens associated with poor health.
  • Lead poisoning irreversibly affects brain and nervous system development, resulting in lower intelligence and reading disabilities.
  • Residential crowding has been linked both with physical illness, including infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and respiratory infections, and with psychological distress among both adults and children.

Major corporations and organizations throughout the United States like Morgan Stanley, The Kresge Foundation, and UnitedHealth Group realize the connections between home and health, and are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in affordable housing and healthcare collaborations for low-income populations.

Education

Children in stable homes often perform better in school because they feel secure in their living situation.  An article from The University of California Berkley’s Institute of Governmental Studies points out that, “the stress and disruption that frequent moving causes, the loss of friends, or increased absentee[is]m all [e]ffect learning.”  A different study within that article even found that curriculum, in classes where there is a lot of student mobility, can be stunted up to as much as “one year behind more stable schools.”  These behaviors and learning levels often set the pace for a person’s entire academic career.

The MacArthur Foundation, well-known for its interest in youth and education, has recently invested $25 million in research that connects affordable housing and its effects on education.

Success

A stable home life also gives people a better chance at achieving success in social situations, family life, and careers.  According to the 2012 study by the National Association of Realtors®, Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing, “many sociology studies have found that residential stability strengthens social ties with neighbors.”  People are more likely to get to know their neighbors if they intend on staying a while.  The article specifically focuses on homeownership – considered more stable than renting. The following are just a few benefits of stable homes and neighborhoods:

  • Could help reduce economic pressure, putting less strain on familial relationships and parenting
  • Greater access to economic and educational opportunities
  • Greater sense of civic involvement

Public Safety

Offering decent, affordable homes can reduce crime rates, thus minimizing taxes associated with punishing the offenders.  A research report from the Justice Policy Institute claims that there are studies showing ‘an association between exposure to lead hazards in substandard housing and higher rates of violent crime.’ This could correlate with the previously stated health statistic of lead poisoning affecting the brain and nervous system.   

Safe, affordable housing could not only alleviate this issue of violent crime, it “has been shown to be a cost-effective public investment, lowering corrections and jail expenditures and freeing up funds for other pub[l]ic safety investments.”  If those that are released from incarceration are able to find supportive or affordable housing, it reduces their chance of recidivism.  This would save the taxpayers a lot of money.

Economy

A healthy economy includes a) consumers within all income levels jointly supporting it, b) job creation, and c) some tax revenue production. A report titled, The Role of Affordable Housing in Creating Jobs and Stimulating Local Economic Development, indicates that by ‘providing affordable, energy-efficient homes to low- to moderate- income individuals and families, this demographic will tend to spend their residual income on basic household needs, generating significant immediate economic activity.’ This allows them to do their part to support the economy.

Building affordable homes further stimulates the economy by creating jobs and tax revenues.  According to the National Association of Homebuilders, “each single-family home built creates three jobs and generates $90,000 in tax revenues.” Affordable housing is at the heart of all of these economy-boosting factors – making people feel secure enough in their finances to spend money.

Working Toward Stability and Raising Awareness

Now that you have a clearer understanding of why Home Matters, what do you do with this information?  If you aren’t currently in a stable living situation, NHS welcomes you to get plugged in to our continuum of  programs and services that will give you the opportunity to secure a home and gain confidence in your long term stability. 

For those who are already in a stable home, please help us raise awareness by passing this message along to those who need it.  You can do your part to bring stability to our community by:

  • forwarding this article to a friend
  • referring someone to one of our programs
  • donating money to help us cover costs of these free or inexpensive services
  • applying your expertise through volunteering for one of our committees

Neighborhood Housing Services believes that Home is the key to thriving communities, and what better way to help your community progress than by enhancing the image of Home for more people – making stability a reality.

For more information about the Home Matters® movement, visit their website.

For more information on NHS’ affordable housing programs and services, call 343-4065 or email info@nhsid.org.

Resource: Home Matters® graphic found at www.HomeMattersAmerica.com

 

Tags: NHS, Home Matters

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