The Issue

Child and youth homelessness is widespread and devastating – but hidden.  It doesn’t have to be this way. Education can provide each child and youth a pathway to success, and out of homelessness — permanently.

Common Questions About Homelessness

How many children and youth experience homelessness?

Common Questions About Homelessness

There are many common questions about children and youth who are experiencing homelessness. SchoolHouse Connection has answered some of the questions we hear the most.


Hidden in Plain Sight

These numbers may surprise you, because you don’t see children, youth, and families in the same way that you see adults who experience homelessness. Most children and youth experiencing homelessness are not visible in shelters or on the streets, but rather moving from place to place: couches, basements, motels, cars, and wherever they can find temporary refuge.

Homelessness is a traumatic experience for children and youth. The devastating impact of homelessness begins early in life, with harm to health and development prenatally, in infancy, in early childhood, and in school-age years.

Students experiencing homelessness are more likely to drop out of high school, and have high school graduation rates that are well below graduation rates of students who are poor, but who have stable homes. Tragically, not getting a high school degree leads back to a cycle of homelessness: lack of a high school degree or GED is the singlest greatest risk factor for experiencing homelessness as a young adult. Youth experiencing homelessness who do persist to graduate from high school face significant barriers to achieving higher education, which is the surest path to economic independence.

Why Education?


Schools and early childhood programs provide children and youth experiencing homelessness with the education and skills to cope, learn, earn, and succeed in the long-term.


Schools and early childhood programs are much more than classrooms for children and youth experiencing homelessness – they provide safety, stability, and access to food, health and mental health services, and caring, supportive adults.


Schools and early childhood programs exist in all communities, and see children and youth every day. This means they are uniquely able to identify and respond to children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness.

Education Changed the Lives of Mirka, Jamie, and Gladys.

I knew that education was the only way out. I wanted to be something more than what my circumstances predicted I would be.
— Mirka
Teachers and schools are often the home that many homeless students rely on. They saved my life. It’s time to take a closer look at the gaps in our system so we can provide more homeless students with the support they need to reach their full potential.
— Jamie
Graduating college means the world to someone like me.. It says to me that I’m not where I came from and I am NOT a product of my environment. Education gave me the key to places I never thought I would see. To others, this might be a small step of progress, but to the homeless youth, this marks the beginning of a new life. A new life with new possibilities is all I could ever ask for and now I finally am achieving it.
— Gladys

How does SchoolHouse Connection tackle this crisis?

Here are two ways you can help.

Donate Get Involved