two children cartwheeling in front yard.

How housing affects child development

Stable housing is foundational to children’s growth and well-being.

Growing up in a decent, affordable home can have a powerful effect on children. Studies draw a straight line between the quality, location and affordability of housing and a child’s ability to thrive.

On the other hand, low-quality housing — often accompanied by pests, poor ventilation, lack of heat and other detrimental factors — has been strongly linked to physical health problems for children.

In addition, the stress that parents experience due to living in poor conditions can translate into emotional and behavioral problems in their children. Children whose families who are forced to move frequently in search of better, more affordable living situations often struggle. And parents paying too much for a place to live too often must deplete financial resources that otherwise could be invested in their children’s health, education and futures.

“By building and restoring safe, clean and healthy housing, Habitat works to eliminate children’s experiences of substandard housing, thereby supporting their growth and development.”
— Boston College’s Rebekah Levine Coley and Tufts University’s Tama Leventhal

Surveys of families with safe, stable and affordable housing show fewer health problems, improved school performance, less psychological stress and more self-assured parents.

Wherever Habitat for Humanity works, strong and secure homes contribute to strong and secure families.

Generations of joy

In 1992, Jerzy and Alicja became the first family to take a leap of faith and partner with Habitat Poland. Because they did, they, their children and their grandchildren are reaping the rewards that come with a stable, affordable home.

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Coming home after a destructive storm

After their house was damaged during a violent storm, 10-year-old Oliwia and her family couldn’t live in their own home, play in their own yard and pick apples from their trees — until they found Habitat Poland.

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Foundation for a better future

Mirosław, a potato farmer in a village in central Poland, and his wife, Agata, longed for their children to have space of their own. That goal drove them to build something new with Habitat Poland and Global Village volunteers.

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