Even before the COVID-19 pandemic started to spread in the US, many immigrant families were reluctant to access safety net programs, including housing assistance. Fears around the expansion of both the public charge rule and immigration enforcement efforts dissuaded many families from seeking support, even those with eligible family members.

For the quarter of all children nationwide with an immigrant parent in 2019, with that share even higher in many communities and states such as California, barriers to accessing limited public resources for housing assistance, combined with the financial and other hardships brought on by the pandemic, are likely to have long-term effects. Ensuring housing policies address the unique challenges these children and their families face is critical for the success of safety net programs and communities working to recover from the pandemic.

We spoke with Urban Institute housing policy experts Martha Galvez and Sara McTarnaghan to understand how children of immigrants are currently served in housing policy, how they’ve been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how policymakers can help alleviate barriers to support. Galvez and McTarnaghan offer three takeaways.

Read the full article about housing assistance that supports immigrant children by Hamutal Bernstein, Cary Lou, and Wesley Jenkins at Urban Institute.