Many HCMC patients lack housing security

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February 21, 2013 // UPDATED 8:12 am - February 22, 2013
By: Sarah McKenzie
Nurses and medical staff on duty in the ER at HCMC.
File photo
Sarah McKenzie

A new study by Children's HealthWatch has found 67 percent of low-income families interviewed at Hennepin County Medical Center during a six-year period lacked housing security.

The families had moved two or more times in the previous year, lived in crowded conditions or were behind on rent in the last year. In Minneapolis, a typical two-bedroom apartment rents for $900 a month — more than $500 more than what a full-time minimum wage worker earns in a month, according to statistics cited by HealthWatch.

Young, low-income children who lack stable housing are more likely to face health problems and developmental delays than low-income children with secure housing, according to the authors of the report. 

Dr. Diana Cutts, assistant chief of pediatrics at HCMC, is the principal investigator for Children's HealthWatch in Minneapolis. The survey was given to 6,000 low-income caregivers of children under 4 who were treated at HCMC between 2005 and 2011.

 “From a medical perspective, we know that stable housing is a key factor in the health and development of children — even for the very youngest child," Cutt said in a statement. "Yet so many children who come through our doors do not have a secure home. Policy solutions should consider housing subsidies as an effective prescription to protect children’s health and brain development.”

The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless is seeking an additional $50 million investment in the 2014-2015 state budget to help prevent and end homelessness.