June 13, 2016
Student homelessness is on the rise, with more than 1.3 million homeless students identified during the 2013-14 school year. This is a 7 percent increase from the previous year and more than double the number of homeless students in 2006-07. As high as these numbers seem, they are almost certainly undercounts.Despite increasing numbers, these students - as well as the school liaisons and state coordinators who support them - report that student homelessness remains an invisible and extremely disruptive problem.Students experiencing homelessness struggle to stay in school, to perform well, and to form meaningful connections with peers and adults. Ultimately, they are much more likely to fall off track and eventually drop out of school more often than their non-homeless peers.This study:provides an overview of existing research on homeless students,sheds light on the challenges homeless students face and the supports they say they need to succeed,reports on the challenges adults - local liaisons and state coordinators - face in trying to help homeless students, andrecommends changes in policy and practice at the school, community, state and national level to help homeless students get on a path to adult success.This is a critical and timely topic. The recent reauthorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides many new and stronger provisions for homeless students (effective Oct. 1, 2016); requires states, district and schools for the first time to report graduation rates for homeless students (effective beginning with the 2016-17 school year); and affirms the urgency and importance of dealing with homelessness so that all children can succeed.