Child and youth homelessness is widespread and devastating – but hidden. Education can help break the cycle.
How many children and youth experience homelessness?
Public schools identified nearly 1.3 million children and youth experiencing homelessness in the 2019-2020 school year – an all-time record and roughly the population of Dallas, Texas. Another 1.4 million young children under age six – infants, toddlers, and preschoolers – are estimated to experience homelessness. In addition to children who experience homelessness with their parents, at least one in thirty adolescents ages 13-17, and nearly one in ten young adults 18-24, are estimated to experience homelessness on their own. These numbers are now likely much higher as a result of the pandemic and related economic and family stress.
Number of children and youth experiencing homelessness in the 2019-2020 school year.
Nearly one in ten young adults 18-24, are estimated to experience homelessness on their own.
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.
Education Changed the Lives of Mirka, Jamie, and Gladys.
How does SchoolHouse Connection tackle this crisis?
Together, we can ensure that every child and youth experiencing homelessness has access to the education and support they need to end their homelessness and achieve their dreams.
Everyone has a role to play when it comes to ensuring all children and youth can access their right to an education – and the keys to a better life. Not sure where you fit in? Start here: