Public housing and children s education
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Public Housing and Children’s Education Peter Young Department of Housing, Queensland Presentation to Shelter NSW seminar, ‘Housing dollars, social value’, Sydney, 5 July 2005 Overview Links between social housing and educational outcomes Policy drivers

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Public housing and children s education l.jpg

Public Housing and Children’s Education

Peter Young

Department of Housing, Queensland Presentation to Shelter NSW seminar, ‘Housing dollars, social value’, Sydney, 5 July 2005


Overview l.jpg
Overview

  • Links between social housing and educational outcomes

  • Policy drivers

  • Making policy on the basis of this understanding – a social housing program better aligned to strategic government outcomes


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Factors affecting educational outcomes

  • Genetics

  • School readiness

  • Early school achievement

  • Socio-economic status

  • Parents education

  • Gender

  • Stressful life events (e.g. death or unemployment of a parent)

  • Parent’s involvement

  • Ethnicity

  • Quality of teachers, resources of school etc etc


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But what about housing?

  • We suggested that housing affects educational outcomes for children through a number of different mechanisms:

    • Amenity

    • Neighbourhood

    • Cost and

    • Transience (Young 2002).


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Amenity

  • Housing amenity, such as overcrowding, can result in lack of space for a child to do homework and thus can act as a deterrent in their educational endeavour.

  • Crowding can contribute to household conflict and transmission of illness

  • A house that affects children’s health (for example a dusty/moulding house may induce asthma) may also have an impact through school attendance patterns, and side effects of medication


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Neighbourhood

  • The nature of the neighbourhood is important for a child’s social development;

  • The quality of the neighbourhood also has a bearing on the quality of the local community resources including schools


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Cost community? Is there a critical mass of families who value education?”

  • Disposable income (after housing costs) has an impact on the ability of parents to purchase materials to assist the child with their education (books, computers, excursions, internet connections etc)

  • Housing cost is a big factor in poverty, which in turn is a major factor in household stress and all associated outcomes.

  • High private housing costs may be a significant factor in regularly moving.


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Transience community? Is there a critical mass of families who value education?”

  • Transience is seen as a function of housing tenure. Lack of housing stability may cause unplanned moves of both residences and schools leading to a negative impact on educational outcomes.

  • Moving home can contribute to social isolation

  • Regular moves can impact on kids emotional wellbeing

  • Most at-risk kids may be those who move and who need remediation – slip through cracks


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Exploring these issues using a longitudinal survey community? Is there a critical mass of families who value education?”

  • Approach is a based on a longitudinal survey in Brisbane

  • Tenants were interviewed twice:

    • Once when they have just moved into social housing (T1)

      • (178 households);

    • Once about six months later (T2)

      • (151 households)


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  • Study designed to have a reasonable proportion of sample who experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing

  • Hypothesis is that “good” public housing can make a significant difference

  • What is it about the intervention that helped (eg. stability, reduced crowding, lower cost)?

  • What are the impacts in other aspects of people’s lives?

  • Why – what are the processes (qualitative element)?


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Education: Comparison experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing


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Why education outcomes have changed? experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing


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Limitations experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing

  • Small sample

  • Small sample of children

  • Moved into better public housing stock (newer, very few high density estates, located in more socially diverse neighbourhoods)


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Issues experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing

  • The study confirmed the relevance of the four reported factors (amenity, neighbourhood, cost and transience)

  • However it suggested another issue - the stress levels of the household and the children

  • Cognitive overload of the children and the parents mitigated against successful outcomes


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One example experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing

  • Household moved out of bad public housing

  • 2 years of very unstable private housing

  • Very poor health outcomes – depression and ADHD diagnosed

  • Secured older public housing property but in a socially mixed area

  • Halved dosage of mother’s anti-depressants

  • Child’s behaviour improved to extent that reversed earlier ADHD diagnosis


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Where to from here? experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing

  • “T3”:

  • Going back and interviewing 20 households with children to explore in more detail the educational outcomes another 24 months down the road


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Where to from here? experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing

  • The University of Sydney are doing a large analysis in Brisbane of all children who have moved into public housing over a 4 year period between the Year 5 and Year 7 Basic skills test to try to determine whether there has been a relative improvement in the children’s performance after their housing has changed


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Policy Issues - Housing and Education experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing

  • As funding declines for public housing we need to review:

    • Who we prioritise for assistance, and

    • How we can assist people as efficiently as possible (so as to assist as many as possible)

    • Build the argument for continued funding.


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Who to prioritise for assistance? experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing

  • Typical categories for out of turn allocation:

    • Homeless/at risk of homelessness

    • Medical condition affected by present housing

    • To facilitate family reunion (eg. child returning to care of family from foster care)

    • Escaping domestic violence

    • Family member with a disability requiring accessible housing

    • Victim of natural disaster

  • As well as….

    • To facilitate stock regeneration


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Dimensions of out of turn policies experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing

  • An aspect of housing (too small, too expensive, very poor condition)

  • A household characteristic (ill-health, disability, victim of violence, very low income)

    Resulting in:

  • A non-shelter consequence or impact (illness, violence, reduced quality of life or opportunity)

    Based on:

  • An implicit assumption about therole or importance of housing (better housing can improve health)


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Using our findings on education to guide targeting policies experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing

  • Households living in unstable housing and/or a history of frequent moves (an aspect of housing); and

  • Households with a child requiring school based remediation (a household characteristic);

    Such a policy may result in:

  • Improved school attainment levels and retention rates (non-shelter impact)

    Because:

  • Unstable housing and changing schools is thought to reduce the effectiveness of school based remediation strategies (a role of housing).


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Housing and education in partnership experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing

  • Not every child will benefit educationally from stable housing

  • Some children require stable housing in a different place

  • Developing and implementing this policy requires a partnership between State Housing Authorities and Education authorities

  • Suggests new ways of measuring success


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What forms of assistance to offer? experienced a significant change when they moved into public housing

  • Declining funding places greater focus on efficiency – cost per household assisted

  • Need to consider those waiting for assistance as well as those in the system

  • One approach is to put more effort into understanding what aspect(s) of housing require attention, and focussing assistance just on those aspect(s)

  • Requires good client assessment systems, and a wider range of housing assistance products


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Moving from super-supreme for a few to cheese-lovers for many

  • Public housing provides affordability, security, location, appropriateness – a multi-need intervention (“the works”)

  • Most SHAs have a limited range of single-need interventions, eg. bond loans

  • Single-need interventions may be more efficient way to meet specific needs such as housing stability.

  • Can we address the needs for housing stability for families with school aged children in ways other than public rental housing – eg. Brisbane Housing Company, Defence Housing Authority head-leases

  • Some people will always need super-supreme


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Risks many

  • Don’t inadvertently lose the aspect of the assistance that is making the biggest difference

  • In particular, security of tenure seems an obvious place to make changes – “help people to succeed out of public housing”

  • But what if stability is the thing that has made the biggest impact in terms of non-shelter outcomes?

  • Evidence based policy making – we demand it from the health system, why not the housing assistance system?

  • What non-shelter benefits? For whom? What aspects of housing helped deliver these benefits?


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More Information many

  • AHURI full report and Research and Policy Bulletin summary (Issue 54)

    http://www.ahuri.edu.au/global/docs/doc748.pdf?CFID=174226&CFTOKEN=85107760

    http://www.ahuri.edu.au/global/docs/doc759.pdf?CFID=174226&CFTOKEN=85107760

  • Moving to Opportunity study – the impacts of neighbourhood (an argument for public housing in socially diverse neighbourhoods)

    http://www.wws.princeton.edu/~kling/mto/