According to state data collected and sorted by the National Center for Homeless Education, the number of homeless students who attend public schools in the US has doubled to 1.3 million from 2013 to 2014.
Although there is law implemented around ensuring that all students in public schools are connected to resources that might help them establish stable housing, research and surveys show that not enough outreach is actually conducted to effectively reduce these cases and also highlight a number of issues that make it difficult to detect students in need. Schools for example only ask for proof of housing at the beginning of the year, which cannot detect shifts in housing situations; students are reluctant to reveal this information with peers and teachers because of the stigma around homelessness; students are often ashamed and frequently seek refuge in relatives’ or friend’s homes.
In a survey of 44 homeless youth and 158 previously unstably-housed students, conducted by Civic Enterprises, 94 percent reported living with friends and relatives, 44 percent reported living in hotels and at least half reported spending a few nights in cars or public spaces. The report highlights that students of color and from the LGBTQ community are the most affected.
While districts are depended on as the primary liaisons to connect students to resources, surveys found that one-fourth of students are content with performed outreach and an overwhelming 58 percent answered that schools are doing a poor job.
The Every Student Succeeds Act will now focus on improving conditions for homeless students and will increase funds by 20 percent to help retain students in these cases who are prone to dropout or miss classes; extra money will be allocated to train all school staff to identify homeless students and connect them with the right resources.
Read full story at: NPR