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Housing and the Health of Young Children: Policy and evidence briefing for the VCSE sector

Where children live – the condition, location and stability of their accommodation – has a wide ranging impact on their early health and development. It is a major factor determining the needs of children who present at statutory and voluntary sector services and the priorities of organisations who support vulnerable and low income families.

This briefing explores the main ways in which housing can impact on young children’s health, and highlights how these risks and needs will be evolving as a result of the current policy and financial landscape. It poses suggestions and questions about how voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations working with children and families, including housing associations, may want to adjust their offer in light of how these issues may be affecting their clients. It focuses on local action to mitigate the health risks that housing issues can pose. Throughout the briefing quotes from parents of young children, taken from National Children’s Bureau’s recent research, are included to illustrate some of the health challenges discussed.

We would like to thank The National Housing Federation for its support in sourcing case studies and informing the content of the policy and legislation annex.