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Student homelessness threatens more than 1 million young people

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Staff writer ▼ | June 14, 2016
More than 1.3 million public school students were identified as homeless in 2013-2014, a number that has been rising since 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Student homelessness
Hidden in Plain Sight   Homeless students in public schools
A new report, Hidden in Plain Sight: Homeless Students in America's Public Schools, written by Civic Enterprises with Hart Research Associates by the GradNation campaign, provides insight into how educators, policymakers and community organizations can help more students cope with homelessness, graduate from high school and get on a path to adult success.

"Homelessness is a threat to everything students might want to achieve in their lives, but it doesn't have to be a barrier to success for millions of students," said John M. Bridgeland, president and CEO of Civic Enterprises and a co-author of the report.

"Schools, community organizations and caring adults can create a web of support and lifelines to action that will help students experiencing homelessness cope and thrive.

Key survey findings provide a glimpse into the challenges homeless students face.

- 78% of young people surveyed say homelessness was something they experienced more than once. 61% say they were never connected with any outside organization for support while homeless; 87% of those who were connected found the help valuable.

- 67% (approx. two-thirds) say they were uncomfortable talking with people at their school about their housing situation and related challenges.

- 62% say proof of residency requirements and 56% say lack of cooperation between their new and old schools posed a major challenge for them while changing schools.

- 54% say concrete supports (housing, food, transportation) and emotional supports are equally important.

- 50% say they slept in a car, park, abandoned building, bus station or other public place.

As a subgroup, homeless students are one of the lowest graduating student populations in the nation - 42% say they dropped out of school at least once.