NHPF-Authored Articles & Industry Reports

Recommendations

Educators are a key part of the first line of support for children and families who struggle to meet the everyday needs of food access, health and wellness, and stable housing. This survey shows that teachers, administrators, and counselors encounter students who face housing instability regularly, and that these issues appear to have a definite impact on the academic success of their students. Housing-related challenges are, themselves, a concern for educators. These challenges also impact many of the other barriers identified by educators, including behavioral health, social emotional skills, and even the ability of a parent or guardian to be engaged in their children’s school. We also found that educators often feel unprepared to support their students. Many do not have access to training and support plans to know how to identify a student who is experiencing housing instability and what to do to support them. Although our study finds that there are a range of resources available to students through their schools, educators encounter barriers to making these connections. The perception of educators matches much of what the research highlights: students who experience housing instability are at a disadvantage from their more stably-housed peers. These survey findings were presented at the Growing Up & Out of Poverty Symposium and were the basis for a discussion with a panel of individuals who experienced a variety of housing instability, yet went on to become authors, a doctor, a CEO, and an athlete. The survey of educators and the comments from the panel point to five key recommendations for the field of community development 1. Increase the availability of service-enriched housing These findings point to the potential value of expanding service enriched housing options for families with children. Educators in the survey reflected on the types of referral and support resources that are available to them through school. These included housing, health, and financial resource providers, before and after school programs, and transportation. One example of improved outcomes is that educators in Full Service Community Schools indicated that they receive training on housing-related challenges more often than the average educator. When these types of services are not available at school, providing them in neighborhoods through service-enriched housing may streamline the process and address many of the barriers expressed by survey participants. Creating cross sector partnerships can ensure these services are aligned and have the most efficient and effective impact across a community. Enterprise Community Development has created the Community Impact Strategies program to provide services, classes and workshops to help our more than 20,000 residents access the resources they need. Through these services, we see our residents do better in school, obtain new job skills, connect with healthcare more regularly and achieve other outcomes. NHPF also maintains a robust resident services subsidiary, Operation Pathways, yet securing funding for these academic, financial, health and positive aging programs is always a

Growing Up & Out of Poverty

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