House vs Home: A Child's Perspective on Housing Stability
I recently had the opportunity to interview some of the smartest people I know - and they all happen to be under the age of 14. Kids have a remarkable ability to express their opinions by driving straight at the heart of an issue, and the children I spoke with about housing stability did not disappoint. Here's what they had to say...
What is the difference between a house and a home?
"A home is the heart." - Nyrah, age 7
"A home is where you live there for life." - Makayiah, age 9
"A home is somewhere you live that you're comfortable. You want to be there, it's not temporary." -MyKel, age 13
"A home might be with friends next to you, or everywhere." - Lia, age 10
Would you rather move around a lot or live in one place for a long time?
"I would rather live in a place for a really long time, because you get to cherish memories there instead of moving around and keep organizing and trying to remember stuff." - Stoni, age 12
"Live in one place for a really long time, because I don't have to keep moving and leaving my friends." - Lia, age 10
"I would rather live in one place because you would be familiar with the place and you would know people. It's less stress." - MyKel, age 13
What does your home mean to you?
"It's safe." - Aire, age 10
"My family and friends live there and it gives me a place to lay my head down." - Stoni, age 12
It is not surprising to me that these kids overwhelmingly chose to live in one place instead of moving around a lot. Children often dream of a "forever home," a safe place near their friends and family where they can collect their childhood memories and never be disturbed by the stresses of moving. Housing stability leads to improved school performance, health, and quality of life for children throughout their entire lives.
Unfortunately, a home is a luxury that not all children have. According to the U.S. Department of Education 2,483,539 children experienced homelessness in the U.S. in 2013. That's 1 in every 30 children. [Source] This number is increasing both nationally and in the state of Virginia.
We at the Virginia Beach CDC and Southeastern Virginia Housing Corporation have a vision of a future with "A Forever Home for Every Child." I encourage each of you to join the movement and partner with us in making this vision a reality.
Thank you for all that you do.
Gina R. Lucy
Gina is the Leader, Marketing & Community Relations and spends her days (and lots of evenings) telling the story of VBCDC to everyone in the community.