Research tells us that the effects of poor housing conditions, overcrowding and homelessness include:
- Missing school much more often on account of sickness or being moved from place to place
- Damaging the ability to learn at school and study at home
- Much higher risk of severe ill health and disability
- Higher risk of behavioural and emotional problems.
The response to the housing and homelessness crisis has to be speedy, and child–centred. Children need stability, some privacy and security. Enabling school going children to stay in their present school must be a top priority when housing is being offered. A roof and a bed are essential, but not enough. Extra supports for learning and well-being must be provided.
A major emergency
Speed is of the essence. This housing and homelessness crisis fits the definition of a Major Emergency. It demands an effective, co-ordinated response and extra resources that a major emergency usually commends. Children can’t wait.