The effects of family homelessness on children can be devastating. In addition to coping with the daily uncertainty of where they will live, homeless children are twice as likely to repeat a grade and four times more likely to develop asthma. And children in families that are behind on rent are 52% more likely to be at-risk for developmental delays than children in stable housing. What if this could be prevented?
That’s exactly what we’re working toward. United Way and the Boston College School of Social Work’s Center for Social Innovation brought together passionate organizations to identify innovative, cost-effective and feasible ideas to reduce family homelessness in Massachusetts. The IF Challenge Prize to End Family Homelessness not only rewarded good ideas with funding, but also provided critical support to help the organizations implement their winning ideas.
The winning solutions are diverse in their approaches, and include: taking an existing and successful eviction prevention program to scale, developing an app to connect families to housing resources, and building a campaign to leverage the highly successful Earned Income Tax Credit program to help low-income working families pay for the cost of housing. Through this partnership, these organizations are transforming their game-changing ideas into reality.
This month, the IF Challenge and the three winning organizations – HomeStart, MetroHousing|Boston, and Children’s HealthWatch – are featured in the latest edition of the Boston Social Innovations Journal.