Journal Article

Infants Exposed to Homelessness: Health, Healthcare Use, and Health Spending from Birth to Age Six

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While homeless infants are known to often have poor birth outcomes, there has not been as much research done on the long-term impacts of homelessness as a child on a person’s future health. In this article published in Health Affairs, we collaborated with research colleagues from UMass Medical School to analyze the health outcomes of infants born into homelessness.

The report examines 5,762 infants that experienced homelessness between 2008-2015, linking emergency shelter records with Medicaid claims. Many of these newborns experienced problems like low birthweight, respiratory issues, fevers, and longer neonatal intensive care unit stays that required higher annual medical spending. The period when a child was between the ages of one and six was tied to higher spending due to asthma diagnoses and emergency department visits.