Educational opportunities and access are essential for youth experiencing homelessness.
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As part of our ongoing discussion of hidden homelessness, this week we highlight an important factor in the fight to end youth homelessness — intervention and awareness of stigma in schools. Whether they are in the shelter system or facing one of the many types of hidden homelessness, young people without stable housing often experience difficulty in an academic setting. They are often focused on finding work and meeting their basic needs, which can interfere with their education.
The stigma of being unhoused also makes them less likely to speak to teachers and other students about the challenges they face. As the article from NPR advocates, “Schools should train educators to notice signs of potential homelessness in students, [Barbara Duffield, executive director of SchoolHouse Connection] says. This tends to include students with frequent absences, students wearing the same clothing, students hoarding food, or changing behavior like withdrawing or acting out.”
Having teachers and administrators who are aware of the difficulties students face while experiencing homelessness and who can provide options to help support those students can make all the difference for them. At Covenant House, we ensure that our young people have access to the educational opportunities they need, and advocate for this to be provided to all young people facing homelessness or housing instability.
Continue reading NPR’s article on youth homelessness and education here.