The Effects of Homelessness on Pregnant Mothers and Infants

recent article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics examines the effects of homelessness on the health of pregnant mothers and their infants. As might be expected, the stresses of homelessness have significant negative impacts on the health of mothers and babies.

The study found that among a nationwide sample, four percent of women reported experiencing homelessness within 12 months before pregnancy. Homeless mothers had less prenatal care and well-visits, were less likely to take prenatal vitamins, and were more likely to be underweight or obese. Infants born to homeless mothers had lower birth weights, longer hospital stays, and were more likely to receive neonatal intensive care.

It is also likely that the study underestimated the prevalence of homelessness among pregnant women since the surveys were administered only to women with known mailing addresses and phone numbers. In addition, the study did not indicate whether the homeless mothers were sheltered, unsheltered, or living in doubled-up conditions.

Nonetheless, the scope of the study was larger than many previous studies and continued to confirm the negative impacts of the stresses of homelessness on mothers and babies.

You can view the abstract or purchase the entire article here.

Help Homeless Kids Get Much Needed Tools for School

Today the Coalition kicks off Project: Back to School, our annual school supply drive to help some of the 16,000 children currently living in homeless shelters start the year off on the right foot.

Homelessness takes a particularly heavy toll on kids. The inherent lack of stability causes many homeless children to fall behind in school. With your help, we can ensure that New York’s neediest boys and girls are better prepared for the upcoming school year.

Learn more about Project: Back to School here.

We have drop off boxes at various locations around the city, or you can simply make a donation.

$2,000 for an Apartment or a Pair of Shoes?

An article published today has struck me with its shocking illustration of what is going wrong in America. As we struggle to recover from a crippling recession, with jobless rates remaining stubbornly high, and income stagnating or declining for average Americans, this article appeared in the New York Times.

So I have learned today that the wealthiest Americans continue to make so much money that there is a waiting list for a $9,000 coat, and luxury retailers are hiking up prices on shoes over $1,000 because they will continue to sell whether the price is $1,000 or $2,000.

And yet there are roughly 38,000 men, women, and children sleeping in New York City shelters who cannot afford to rent an apartment that costs less than one pair of shoes at Saks Fifth Avenue. Moreover, just a few days ago, as part of a deal to increase the debt ceiling, Congress approved massive spending cuts to vital government programs while ignoring the possibility of tax increases for America’s top earners. Which brings me to a blog also published today by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities…

As part of the debt ceiling deal, Congress created a “supercommittee” that will recommend more deficit-reduction measures. CBPP’s blog explains why it is a necessity that they consider revenue options, even though Republicans continue to vehemently oppose even a return to past tax rates. Aside from basic fairness and morality, they show that the Bush tax cuts have been a significant contributor to our national deficit. And while average tax rates for the wealthiest have gone down significantly, incomes for these households have skyrocketed. And perhaps most importantly, without any new tax revenues, vital government programs that assist the poor, elderly, disabled, children, and other members of our society will face crippling cuts.

While the first article paints a grim picture of the direction of our society and with it, our humanity, CPBB’s blog is a plea for sanity. We cannot afford a society where tens of thousands of people go homeless and the wealthiest Americans get a tax break to buy $1,650 face cream.