CSH estimates that there are approximately 90,000 families and youth in need of supportive housing, including 43,646 families with child welfare involvement. While lack of housing should not necessitate child welfare involvement, housing instability alongside additional challenges such as substance use or mental health needs can affect the overall placement decision. Access to permanent housing often means that families can stay together while receiving child welfare prevention services or reunify more quickly if children are in out-of-home care. Research has demonstrated that children and youth who have a reliable place to call home also spend fewer days in foster care, experience a reduction in subsequent abuse and neglect cases, reduce their risk of subsequent homelessness, and increase their school attendance.
Housing vouchers and rental assistance play a significant role in keeping families together and supporting youth in transitioning successfully into adulthood. While most housing vouchers are issued from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) via local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) , there are many states that have funded voucher and rental assistance programs for families and transition age youth. States like New Jersey, California, Washington, and Colorado have all developed and funded housing assistance to support child-welfare involved families and youth.