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Report on Homeless Students Released

by Ernie Melcher

A report, Hidden in Plain Sight: Homeless Students in America’s Public School examines the growing problem of student homelessness by interviewing and surveying currently and formerly homeless students and the state coordinators and local liaisons assigned to help them. Written by a team of researchers at Civic Enterprises, the study was released by America’s Promise Alliance, a leader of the GradNation campaign.

Student homelessness is on the rise, with more than 1.3 million homeless students identified during the 2013-14 school year. This is a seven percent increase from the previous year and more than double the number of homeless students in 2006-07. As high as these numbers seem, they are almost certainly undercounts.

Despite increasing numbers, these students – as well as the school liaisons and state coordinators who support them – report that student homelessness remains an invisible and extremely disruptive problem.

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 more often than their non-homeless peers.

This study:

• provides an overview of existing research on homeless students;
• sheds light on the challenges homeless students face and the supports they say they need to succeed;
• reports on the challenges adults – local liaisons and state coordinators – face in trying to help homeless students; and
• recommends changes in policy and practice at the school, community, state and national level to help homeless students get on a path to adult success.

The report is available at http://www.gradnation.org/sites/default/files/HiddeninPlainSightFullReportFINAL.pdf

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