Higher Education

Tips for Homeless Higher Education Liaisons

This resource provides basic strategies for higher education liaisons.

Download the PDF

Many institutions of higher education are designating liaisons for students experiencing homelessness. Similar to their counterparts in K-12 education, homeless higher education liaisons support students by connecting them to available resources on and off-campus, and removing barriers to their college retention and success.

The tip sheet below provides basic strategies for higher education liaisons. In addition, we’ve created tip sheets specifically for states that have enacted laws that allow or require the designation of homeless higher education liaisons. These tip sheets summarize relevant state laws and provide strategies for implementation.

SHC Launches Learning Network for Higher Education Liaisons

SchoolHouse Connection launched their Homeless Higher Education Liaison Learning Network. This network provides a space for homeless higher education liaisons to share best practices, engage in professional development, and network with peers. Over 130 liaisons from 24 states have joined. For more information about the Homeless Higher Education Liaison Learning Network, please contact Jillian Sitjar, Director of Higher Education Partnerships.

1. Train faculty and staff to become aware of signs that any student on campus may be experiencing homelessness.

What is homelessness?

  • Sharing housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or campgrounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations
  • Staying in an emergency or transitional shelter
  • Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, or similar settings

What are the signs of homelessness?

  • Students staying late or sleeping on campus until buildings close like the library, student center, 24 hour study rooms, etc.
  • Social behavioral changes like withdrawal, aggression, clinginess, difficulty with peer and/or adult relationships
  • Lack of participation in class, poor attention span, or sudden decline in academic achievement
  • Poor hygiene, unmet medical/dental needs, wearing the same clothes repeatedly, fatigue, sickness

2. Ensure that faculty, staff, and students are aware of your role as a homeless higher education liaison.

3. Create a comfortable, relaxing office space for students. Students should feel safe and welcome.

4. Establish strong relationships with key partners on and off-campus.

5. Routinely follow up with students to monitor their academic progress as well as their physical and emotional well-being.