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Cityscape: Volume 14 Number 3 | Article 7


Residential Mobility: Implications for Families and Communities

Volume 14 Number 3

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Addressing Residential Instability: Options for Cities and Community Initiatives

G. Thomas Kingsley, Urban Institute

Audrey Jordan, William Traynor, Lawrence CommunityWorks


Recent research based on surveys of low-income neighborhoods in 10 cities, part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections initiative, confirms that overall rates of residential mobility in such neighborhoods are high but also shows that the overall rate is made up of very different types of moves with dramatically different implications. Perhaps most important is the finding that a large share of all moves are churning moves— frequent, usually short-distance moves by vulnerable families. Research has shown this kind of mobility to be associated with negative education and health outcomes for young children.

After summarizing key findings from the Making Connections initiative, this article reviews policy and programmatic options that might address these outcomes. It finds considerable relevance at the citywide level in new approaches to homelessness prevention being considered. It also identifies actions that can be taken at the community level. The article focuses, in particular, on how the network organizing approach might be mobilized toward this end.

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