Children and youth experiencing homelessness do not fit society’s stereotypical images of the homeless population. Homeless children and youth face several obstacles within society–receiving education in a stable environment is one of them.
The absence of a stable living arrangement has a devastating impact on educational outcomes for youth. Most homeless youth have difficulty staying at the same school for an entire school year. Stigmas about homelessness combined with lack of support from the school district can often prevent homeless students from receiving the best education possible.
Frequent mobility can increase anxiety and is associated with lower student achievement. When students change schools frequently, it is difficult for educators to identify their needs and ensure proper placement. Parents may also have difficulty identifying the difference between academic or social difficulties that result from the stresses of homelessness and mobility.
Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act’s education title, schools must eliminate the barriers that impede homeless students’ enrollment and attendance. An appointed liaison is also mandated through McKinney-Vento to work with homeless students and their families.