Housing Instability and Child Welfare, with Maya Brennan

Season 1Episode 9September 13, 2019

The Urban Institute’s Maya Brennan joins us to examine the out-size impact that housing instability has on family well-being.

Housing instability has an out-size impact on family well-being. What we can do to help children dealing with trauma retain a sense of roots and resilience? And what less-talked-about issues related to housing should we be aware of? The Urban Institute’s Maya Brennan joined us to discuss the deep cycle of cascading instabilities that has its roots in housing and what we, as a society, can do to help keep families strong.

Topics in this episode:

  • Housing as a basic human need. (1:34)
  • What can we do to help? (4:44)
  • The impact housing instability has on children. (6:45)
  • Family stressors and cascading effects of instability. (11:25)
  • Domestic violence as a cause for eviction. (15:07)
  • Programs that help families. (17:57)
  • What doesn’t help. (20:57)
  • What questions should we be asking? (25:23)
  • Dangerous housing and its effect on kids’ health. (28:54)
  • The public policy change we need. (34:05)
  • One piece of advice for Children’s Advocacy Centers. (36:26)
  • Neighborhood decay. (37:11)
  • Our next episode topic. (38:46)


Maya Brennan is a senior policy associate at the Research to Action Lab at the Urban Institute.

The Children and Instability page on the Urban Institute’s website covers housing, including supportive housing for families involved in the child welfare system, and other topics.

Five-site pilot program: Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families in the Child Welfare System.

US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty

How Housing Quality Affects Child Mental Health,” October 26, 2017, by Will Schupmann on howhousingmatters.org.

How Housing Affects Children’s Outcomes,” January 2, 2019, by Veronica Gaitán on howhousingmatters.org.


Transcript to come.