Why is this important?

Homeless youth and adults have a harder time obtaining quality education, finding employment, accessing healthy food, and finding safe places to live than the general population.[i] Youth may be the age group most at risk of becoming homeless,[ii] and youth experiencing homelessness face many challenges to their academic success: for example, between 25 and 35 percent of homeless youth report they had to repeat a grade.[iii] Stable housing and supportive services, however, can increase a homeless person’s potential for education and employment. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act provides funding to school districts that ensure various rights and protections to homeless students, including free transportation to and from school, and registration without the normally required documents. Therefore, the percentage of homeless students in a district may reflect not only the district’s local economy but also the district’s ability to care for students experiencing homelessness. Other factors, such as the availability of affordable housing in the area and the availability of foster care families, can also contribute to these figures.[iv]


[i] Sheila Crowley, “The Affordable Housing Crisis: Residential Mobility of Poor Families and School Mobility of Poor Children,” The Journal of Negro Education 72, no. 1 (2003): 22-38.

[ii] M. Robertson and P. Toro, “Homeless Youth: Research, Intervention, and Policy,” in Practical Lessons: The 1998 National Symposium on Homelessness Research, ed. L. Fosburg and D. Dennis (Washington, DC: US Department of Housing and Urban Development and US Department of Health and Human Services, 1999), 1-32.

[iii] R. Clark, and M. Robertson, “Surviving for the Moment: A Report on Homeless Youth in San Francisco,” Berkeley Alcohol Research Group (1996).

[iv] US Department of Education.