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Cityscape: Volume 19 Number 3 | U.S. Commentary: The Family Options Study and Food Insecurity


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Family Options Study

Volume 19, Number 3

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

U.S. Commentary: The Family Options Study and Food Insecurity

Elaine Waxman
Urban Institute

Housing and food insecurity often coexist in the same household and reflect tradeoffs between basic needs that families grapple with when facing limited and often unstable income (Cutts et al., 2011; Heflin, 2006; Joyce et al., 2012). Unfortunately, research often fails to examine the intersection of material hardships (Ziliak, 2015) or fully explore how strategies intended to address one domain may influence outcomes in another. The Family Options Study breaks new ground, not only because of the insights it provides into strategies for improving family housing outcomes, but also because it illuminates the role of housing subsidies in reducing other material hardships like food insecurity (Gubits et al., 2016). For policymakers, practitioners, and researchers interested in strengthening low-income communities, the Family Options Study is a powerful reminder of the importance of rigorously evaluating interventions with an eye firmly focused on how they contribute to overall family well-being.

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