Homelessness In Education

a student by day, homeless by night

This is a real problem

The highest number of students who experienced homelessness took place in 2012-2013

  • In the United States 1,258,182 students were homeless
  • In Indiana alone 16,233 students were homeless
This greatly effects education because the student's focus is not on figuring out how to solve math problems or reading the assigned text for the night, rather they are focused on survival.

Identifying a homeless student may be more difficult than you think.

Many homeless students may not fit the common definition of homeless.
  • The student may be living in a shelter with their family sometimes awaiting placement into more permanent housing
  • Some students live with another family or with extended family in a situation that is referred to as "doubling up".
  • The student may be living in many different places changing their address from week to week.

The McKinney-Vento Act

Signed into law in 1987 by President Regan, the McKinney-Vento act is named after Repersentative Stewart B. McKinney and Representative Bruce Vento, representatives who were the bill's strongest supporters.

The McKinney-Vento Act is a broad law that provides services to the homeless. This act not only provides emergency housing, but also ensures that homeless children will be fed and still be able to attend school.

Amended in 2009 by the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act. Also called "HEARTH." HEARTH amended the McKinney-Vento Act to expand its definition of homelessness in response to the growing number of families displaced by the economic downturn of 2007.

This act provides federal dollars to support education of homeless students.

This act provides certain rights to homeless students.
  • The ability to enroll in a school without school or medical records
  • Access to transportation
  • The ability to attend their school of origin
Life in a homeless shelter through the eyes of an 8-year old
This video was made by MPR.org Published on Mar 26, 2013
This girl explains what life is like living in a shelter. She talks about how she completes everyday tasks such as eating dinner and doing her homework. She also shares some of the things she misses about when her family lived in their own home.

What can I do for homeless students?

Homeless students may be going through frequent transitions or may only be experiencing a hardship for a short time. Either way that student has specific needs to help them be more successful in school.
  • Clothing- The student may not have access to clean clothing, clothing in their size, or shoes. Find out about their needs and see if you can offer any help.
  • No Cost Clothing Resources in the Lafayette Area- This is a listing of different clothing closets around Lafayette that offer free or low cost clothing. Some closets have requirements to be eligible for the service. www.clothingclosetmap.weebly.com
  • Hygienic items- Items such as baby wipes, feminine hygiene items, deodorant, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.
  • School supplies- Most needed items might be clipboards, pens, pencils, and notebooks.
  • Healthy snacks- Some students may be coming to school without breakfast and may have missed dinner the evening before too. Keep healthy snacks that deliver energy such as granola bars, oatmeal cookies, raisins, apples, bananas, boxed milk, trail mix (if nuts are allowed at the school), even tuna or chicken salad kits are a good source of protein.
  • Respect- Some students may feel like an invisible person, or a liability. Help that student to feel respected and valued as a member of the class. Encourage participation and sharing in the classroom without alienating the student.
Indiana Liaison Directory

This lists homeless student liaisons in every corporation for the state of Indiana. Most systems list the superintendent as the liaison which I find interesting. With busy schedules, how will the superintendent be able to serve these students?

Indiana Department of Education McKinney-Vento Page

Indiana Department of Education webpage information on Mckinney-Vento act and how the state implements the requirements set by changes in the way the schools obtain funds, provide services, and resources to our homeless students.

National Network for Youth

This website if full of resources and information on helping the homeless youth.

Education Barriers for Homeless Youth

Information on how to overcome barriers to education for homeless youth.


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