One of the biggest determinants of a failing school is transiency—the movement of a student out of a set learning environment after only a short period of time—and one of the biggest predictors of transiency rates in a community is a lack of safe, affordable housing. Vulnerable and with limited economic resources, low-income tenants are forced to move when rates increase beyond affordability. In an environment of rising rents, a typical low-income apartment community loses 60 to 75 percent of its tenants in any given year, and if the landlord implements a major rental increase, then the apartment community could lose 100 percent of its tenants. Heightened criminal activity can also impact transiency, as concerned parents move their children to safer environments. The interconnection between such housing instability and school performance is direct and immediate.

In Atlanta, 83.5 percent of renters have an average income below $35,000 (slightly above the poverty line of $24,600 for a family of four). Based on federal guidelines, it is estimated that a family of four living at the poverty line can afford to pay $683 per month in rent, or one-third of their monthly gross income. Yet, fewer and fewer options exist within this price point for working poor families, with the average rental rate for a modest, 2-bedroom apartment in the city of Atlanta at $949 per month¹.

Between 2010 and 2014, the Atlanta Federal Reserve published metrics showing that the city lost more than 5,000 affordable housing units offering rents under $700 per month, while in the same period rents increased an average of 23.4 percent.

Where affordable housing communities still exist, they are often characterized by unpredictable increases in rent, high crime rates, mold, and general decay and disrepair. Under these adverse conditions, many low-income working families are forced to move quickly and often, relocating their children to new schools with each move. These moves often result in families losing access to basic health care and other resources that support academic success.

The Eduhousing model works to improve school performance by reducing transiency. It reduces transiency by providing stable, affordable housing for working poor families in a financial ecosystem that leverages corporate investment with public grants and private support.

This stability can lead to better learning and health outcomes, greater civic involvement, and consistent employment. Stability becomes a multiplier effect, and it allows for opportunities that set the foundation for success.

In a study of 13,000 students, researchers discovered that those who had changed schools four or more times by sixth grade were about a year behind their classmates, and the students in these schools with high churn were a year behind by fifth grade.

Transient students show lower school engagement; make poorer grades, especially in math; have lower standardized test scores; boast a higher dropout risk; and lose three months of reading and math learning – each time they switch schools.