Why Housing Is a Key Building Block for Better Child Care

Housing barriers are forcing would-be or once-were caregivers out of the sector, which serves millions of children across the country. This is leaving a workforce that is overwhelmingly made up of women and is disproportionately people of color without livelihoods and reducing the already-scarce child care supply in the process.

You’re trying to make sure you have adequate accommodation for your families — the kitchen, yard space, bathrooms, parking spaces, overall neighborhood. That’s what you’re marketing.

— Myra Saboor, a home-based provider in Atlanta

For the last decade, Hayley Wise says she has met regularly with other early care and education providers. Whenever someone asks if anyone has a concern they’d like to share, she says she raises her hand and tells them, “Yes. Housing.”

People do not want to rent to people who have day cares. It feels very judgmental.

— Hayley Wise, a home-based child care provider in California

As the child care crisis has worsened, the scope and impact of these housing challenges have become more apparent to those in positions of power, prompting the creation of public-private partnerships, new pathways to homeownership and policy reform.

More and more, we need issues like child care affordability and housing affordability to be locking arms.

— Natalie Renew, director of Home Grown, a national organization working to improve the quality of and access to home-based child care

A small but significant number of states — spanning all political persuasions — have passed legislation to remove some of the obstacles to providing home-based child care, primarily by limiting the onerous zoning requirements that providers in many states have had to navigate and by prohibiting landlords from rejecting their tenants’ requests to open and operate in-home child care businesses.

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