Illuminating the Invisible Million
Right now, there are more than 1.3 million students experiencing homelessness across the United States. It doesn’t matter if you look outside and see open fields or skyscrapers—somewhere nearby there are children in need of a home. Maybe they’re living in a shelter, or maybe they’re sleeping on someone’s couch. Maybe they’ve just begun their education or maybe high school graduation is looming. Whatever the experience of homeless students in your city, town, or district, the need to identify and support these students is critical.
The barriers that stand in the way of these children receiving the education they deserve are many; transportation, mental and physical health, and food insecurity are just a few examples of the daily challenges they must confront. The instability of homelessness is traumatic for children and adults alike, and has a lasting impact on educational achievement. There are, however, resources available to help homeless students excel—if we can identify them.
What does student homelessness really look like? What rights do homeless students have and what resources are available to them? What works and what doesn’t when it comes to identifying and supporting this population? What can you do?
On March 6, 2018 at SXSW EDU in Austin, TX, step into the hidden world of student homelessness at “The Invisible Million: Homeless Students in the U.S.” Liz Cohen of ICPH, Barbara Duffield and Jamie Warren of SchoolHouse Connection, and Jeanne Stamp of the Charles A. Dana Center will combine research findings, policy considerations, best practices from the field, and the lived experience of a homeless student to paint a vivid picture of the lives of 1.3 million students. Understanding the rights, resources, and nuances of this population has never been more important.
Learn more about the panel here or follow along on Twitter using #invisiblemillion.
For the more than 140,000 students in New York City who have been homeless, the impact of housing instability is all too real. These children are not only struggling with maintaining a place to sleep, but also attending school, succeeding academically, and accessing supports for their additional educational and behavioral needs. The 2017 Atlas of Student Homelessness in New York City provides an in-depth look at the educational outcomes of homeless students.
A quality education can be the most important tool to helping children and families lift themselves out of a recurring pattern of housing instability. To do that, however, these children must first be identified as homeless and then receive the necessary support to ensure that homelessness does not disrupt their learning.
This interactive map enables users to visualize homelessness among students in California by school district. We believe this tool provides information critical to improving California's programs and policies.