Hidden in Plain Sight: Homeless Students in America’s Public Schools


While student homelessness is on the rise, with more than 1.3 million homeless students identified during
the 2013-14 school year1, these students and the school liaisons and state coordinators that support them tell us that
student homelessness remains an invisible and extremely disruptive problem, compounded by the lack of awareness of the issue in
many communities.
Students experiencing homelessness struggle to stay in school, to perform well, and to form meaningful connections with peers and
adults. Ultimately, they are much more likely to fall off track and eventually drop out of school than their non-homeless peers. Until
this year, states and schools were not even accountable for tracking and making progress on their rates of graduation for homeless
Although student homelessness is a challenging problem, we believe it is a solvable one. Our nation’s public schools have a
critical role to play in connecting students to the supports that will help them regain stable housing, weather the trauma and
disruption homelessness brings to their lives, and stay on track to get a quality education fundamental to their success in life.

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Hungry, Homeless and in College

by Chicago Hope Lab, March 2017

Food and housing insecurity among the nation’s community college students threatens their health and
wellbeing, along with their academic achievements. Addressing these basic needs is critical to ensuring
that more students not only start college, but also have the opportunity to complete degrees.
This report presents findings from the largest survey ever conducted of basic needs insecurity among
college students. In 2015, the Wisconsin HOPE Lab published the research report Hungry to Learn, a
study based on a survey of approximately 4,000 students at ten community colleges in seven states.
This study includes more than 33,000 students at 70 community colleges in 24 states. While this is not a
nationally representative sample of students or colleges, it is far greater in size and diversity than prior
samples, and provides information to shed new light on critical issues warranting further research.
In particular, we draw on this new survey to provide information to help practitioners and policymakers
learn more about whether food and housing insecurity are more or less prevalent at certain types
of community colleges or among different parts of the country. We also share a detailed profile of
homeless community college students, including their financial circumstances and work behaviors, as
well as forms of support that they received. Read Here

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Escape Routes: Meta analysis of Homelessness in LA

April 2018, by Economic Roundtable. Underwritten by the Conrad Hilton Foundation

Chronic homelessness is a catastrophe and the result of multiple failures, both before and after the onset of homelessness. This meta-analysis of information about homelessness experienced in Los Angeles County frames issues to be addressed through direct services as well as research. It brings together 26 point-in-time data sets to provide a single panoramic description of people without homes who are living in places not meant for human habitation. The objective is to identify the common reality underlying the data and provide a description that is more comprehensive and reliable than information from any single source. Read the report here.

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NN4Y: Youth In America: The Way Forward

March 2014, There is no plausible excuse for any child to experience homelessness. The National Network for Youth has solutions to address youth homelessness and human trafficking of youth: however greater federal support is necessary to reach all vulnerable youth with needed prevention and intervention services. No child in the United States should face a night on the streets or become a victim of abuse or human trafficking.

America can do better. This report by NN4Y offers background information and solutions. Read here

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WIN:  Meeting A Direct Service Need of LA’s Homeless

WIN:  Meeting A Direct Service Need of LA’s Homeless

Mobile technology is the cornerstone of modern communication and information access. Virtually everyone trusts it, grandmothers use computers and cell phones are everywhere.    But in an odd paradox, technology access is often seen as a luxury or status item.  This mindset too often leads well-meaning folks to wonder suspiciously whether a poor or homeless person in possession of a cell phone is in fact really in need of supportive services. Such thinking also discounts the ability of mobile technology to offer innovative tools designed to support pathways out of poverty.

A smart phone in hand can offer the opportunity for human connectivity as well as a sense of security. Recognizing the importance of communication and knowledge access, the federal lifeline program, begun under the Bush Administration,  has been providing homeless and low income individuals access to smart phones for over a decade.  Millennials consider cell phones a necessity- one study reported that homeless teens consider smart phones as important as food.  Today, the vast majority of the US’s homeless youth, families and adults under age 40 have smart phones.

It only makes sense to leverage trusted mobile technology to offer homeless individuals access to helpful information through free easy to use mobile app’s… like WIN.

Mobile applications are uniquely suited to meet a direct service. And they  transform the outreach dynamic by empowering vulnerable students and families to search for and connect with service providers they choose any time they are ready. If you are homeless or living in your car, you can use free WiFi at your local library to download WIN to search for housing, respond to job searches or call a hotline.  Couch-surfing college students may use it to locate free food, tutoring or school supplies.  WIN offers free access to regional services, directions, helpful information and more.

Access to information and services are the first step out of poverty. The next time you see a destitute person with a cell phone, remind yourself that cell phones and mobile apps’s meet a direct service need of the homeless- access to information.   Apps like WIN are a 21st century “Hand Up”.




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6 Homeless LGBTQ Youths Share Their Stories


06/14/2018 04:51 pm ET Updated Jun 15, 2018; by James Michael Nichols

6 Homeless LGBTQ Youths Share Their Stories

When photographer Letizia Mariotti began meeting homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City, she felt a duty to help spread their stories.

She began photographing the queer youth she encountered at LGBTQ gathering places and interviewing them about their experiences. All of the subjects of her photos live, or at one point have lived, at the Ali Forney Center, which serves LGBTQ youths in New York. The majority of them have faced rejection from their families because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“I want parents of LGBTQ kids to understand the tragic scope of this problem and the profound influence family acceptance plays in the lives of the LGBTQ youth,” Mariotti told HuffPost. “I want them to understand that an indecently high percentage of the LGBTQ youth suffer emotional abuse and violence first from their parents, relatives, and the communities they live in.”

With 40 percent of homeless youth identifying as LGBTQ, Mariotti hopes her project can help others see these individuals clearly and compassionately.

“People need to be less judgmental and more accepting,” she said. “People need to stop seeing the world in stereotypes, stop trying to define what ‘normal’ looks like.”


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Cyndi Lauper unveils report on LGBTQ youth homelessness

The Associated PressPublished 7:07 a.m. ET June 29, 2018, Photo: Rebecca Cabage/Invision/AP

The interactive report ranks how states provide services such as housing and mental health for homeless youth based on a variety of criteria, including access to hormone therapy for transgender people and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

It is a joint project between Lauper’s True Colors Fund and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.

Washington and Massachusetts ranked first and second on the list, with California and Connecticut tying for third. The lowest ranking states are South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas and Wyoming.

The report found that even in the top-ranked states, there’s room for improvement in the availability of services, such shelters, counseling and training for identifying LGBTQ persons. They also said laws should be changed to decriminalize truancy and other policy changes are needed to keep vulnerable youth out of the juvenile justice system.

Lauper said the report can be used as a tool for advocates to make a direct change in the way service providers across the country can assist and ultimately prevent youth homelessness.

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Skid Row Cafe Employs Homeless Women

Sitting inside MADE by DWC, the Downtown Women’s Center’s cheery and spacious cafe and gift boutique, you could almost forget that Skid Row is just outside. DWC’s cafe and boutiques employ formerly homeless women who have gone through the center’s programs.  The women earn minimum wage to create goods or work at the boutiques and cafes, while also learning skills to hopefully help them for future employment.


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