I’d like to call your attention to a recent brief produced by the Center for Urban Child Policy at The Urban Child Institute. The policy brief- Dire Poverty and Recession-Induced Homelessness in Memphis and Shelby County- projects likely changes in the dire poverty rate among children (those living below one-half the federal poverty line) as a result of the current economic climate, and details estimated increases in housing instability among local families with children. Some highlights:
- In Memphis, almost one in four preschool age children live in households with incomes less than half the federal poverty line. These children are more likely than their less impoverished peers to live in unstable households and receive lower scores on tests of IQ and achievement.
- Based on current unemployment projections, we estimate that the number of Shelby County residents in dire poverty will rise by at least 1, 190 people. Distress in the housing sector will place this extremely impoverished population at an increased risk of homelessness.
- Recession-induced housing instability could mean over 1,600 Shelby County children and their families will lose their homes. Family homelessness heightens toxic stress in childhood and can negatively influence brain development and academic achievement.
- Families confronting housing insecurity are more likely to experience residential transience and be separated from neighborhood level resources that can provide improved beginnings for our most vulnerable children.
The Center for Urban Child Policy conducts policy analysis and outreach as part of The Urban Child Institute in Memphis, Tennessee. The Center is committed to building public will and a sustained political voice for children in order to improve the well-being of all children and families.
We welcome your comments and questions.
Doug Imig, Ph.D.
Frances Breland, M.A.
Katie Devlin, M.S.