Years of research have shown that when young people have a safe and stable place to call home, their educational outcomes improve and they have the opportunity to grow into their full potential. But what happens in the classroom when families struggle to find housing or stay properly housed? How can educators play a role in supporting students? And what can leaders in the community development and human services fields do to work with educators toward solutions? In 2020, The NHP Foundation and Enterprise Community Partners joined forces to answer these questions by gathering perspectives from 500 educators across the United States. We asked them about the impact of housing instability on their students, their ability to identify and support students experiencing housing-related challenges, as well as the barriers to accessing resources and supports provided through their schools.
We found that educators believe housing-related challenges to be one of the most salient issues facing their students, producing a measurable impact on educational performance, attendance, behavior and health. Nearly nine in ten educators reported that housing-related challenges have a moderate or significant impact on the educational performance of young people. Educators identified student struggles with homelessness, lack of access to basic utilities, and frequent moves as common among the students they work with. While many educators said they could positively identify students who were struggling with housing challenges, a large number reported that they did not know how to support them. More than 40 percent indicated that they had not received training in this area, and about half of respondents were unaware of a school or district plan to support these students and their families.
The NHP Foundation & Enterprise Community Partners | Growing Up & Out of Poverty 3
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