Children’s HealthWatch

by

According to recent estimates, nearly 80% of our overall health is shaped by social and environmental factors—things like food, transportation, and housing. Yet, 7 million people live one crisis away from eviction and 21 million people pay too much on rent. But, what’s at stake is more than “affordable housing.” It’s acknowledging that hard working parents who pay their taxes are increasingly unable to pay their rent or afford a mortgage—and that has damaging impacts on their health and the health of their children. That’s the heart of a frame that we developed in partnership with Children’s HealthWatch, who has been collecting real-time data in frontline healthcare settings since 1998. As part of that work, they’ve performed comprehensive research on the impact of economic hardship on the health and development of infants and toddlers under age four. What they have discovered is that housing—its accessibility, its stability, and its affordability—matters a lot. It matters for the growth and development and health and well-being of young children. And it’s why we worked together with Children’s HealthWatch to develop a message frame that could begin to shift public perceptions and policies about the relationship between housing and health so that a new, more healthful future can emerge for young children and their families. The outcome of our first project—a message framework that made a compelling case for all housing advocates to reference, was so successful in garnering support that Mission Partners is now working on an expanded version of that framework, to serve as a communications toolkit for children’s health advocates across the country.