Graphic of a house sinking with family on it

When a Story Hits Home

An all-too-human moment stops the editorial process.

By Brian Simpson • Image by Retrorocket/Getty Images

Every once in a while, it becomes too much. It happened a couple weeks before we sent this issue to the printer.

“I don’t know how this can change. The families. These kids,” said managing editor Melissa Hartman.

A tide of sorrow had pulled us from the pages spread across the desk. We had just reread the data and personal stories in Stephanie Shapiro’s piece on housing and health. Just 1 in 4 low-income households with children eligible for federal housing assistance receive it. 4.2 million youths experience homelessness each year. A child named Unique whose family had once been evicted now volunteers in a shelter for homeless families. She wants the kids there to know that “they’re not alone.”   

The sadness came from a deep appreciation of the home’s central role in human lives and human health. That so many suffer evictions, substandard housing, or life on the streets is unconscionable. If there’s hope to be found, it’s in the strength of individuals to persevere and the work of faculty at the Bloomberg School and elsewhere. Documenting housing’s myriad connections to health only strengthens arguments for society’s responsibility to ensure that there’s a safe home for all.