Key findings include:
- Twenty months after staying in an emergency shelter with their families, children scored worse in pre-reading skills and had higher rates of overall behavior problems and early development delays compared to national norms for children their age.
- Unstable housing arrangements remained common during the 20 months following a stay in emergency shelter, with 41 percent of families reporting that, during the past six months, they had been in a shelter or a place not suitable for human habitation, had doubled up in someone else’s housing unit, or had moved at least once.
- Enrollment in early education and center-based care was lower for families who had experienced housing instability in the past six months compared to those who had been stably re-housed. However, housing instability did not appear to be associated with lower enrollment in Head Start programs.
- Children who had more stable recent housing situations and more stable child care arrangements displayed fewer behavior problems 20 months after a shelter stay than those who did not.
- Children ages three and four who were enrolled in Head Start or other early education and center-based care displayed stronger pre-math and pre-reading skills than those who were only in parental care.
For more information on young children experiencing homelessness, including important federal protections and programs, please visit:
SchoolHouse Connection’s Early Childhood Education page
Administration for Children & Families’ Expanding Early Care and Education for Homeless Children page