More and more families across the nation are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Many pay more than half their income in rent, crowd into apartments that are too small, double up with other families, or forego health care and other basic needs in order to pay the rent. For some, the struggle is too great and they fall behind, suffering what we now understand are serious consequences to their health.
New research by Children’s HealthWatch shows that being behind on rent or mortgage correlates strongly with negative health outcomes for mothers and children. Children in families that have been behind on rent within the last year are more likely to be in poor health and have an increased risk of developmental delays than children whose families are stably housed. The mothers in these families also have a much higher likelihood of experiencing symptoms of depression and being in poor health than mothers living in stable housing.
The high levels of depressive symptoms and poor health experienced by these women approach those of mothers living in homeless shelters.