Homelessness: A fringe issue?Many people view homelessness as a fringe issue, affecting only“certain kinds of people” on the edges of society. This view doesnot reflect the changing demographics of homelessness in theUnited States, including a steady rise in homelessness amongfamilies with children. Consider the following questions: Could you ever experience a flood, fire, tornado, or other natural disaster? Do you work in an area of the economy where your job might become obsolete? Could you ever suffer from a long-term illness or accident without proper health benefits or other compensations? Do you live in a household with only one full-time wage earner? Are you behind on any monthly bills? Are housing costs in your area increasing faster than wages? Does anyone in your family struggle with addiction or mental illness? Could you ever face extreme financial difficulty without family or close friends available to come to your aid?If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are notimmune to homelessness. These questions are not meant tocreate alarm, but rather to spread awareness that peopleexperiencing homelessness are people just like us. They desirefinancial stability and a secure home, but have confronted difficultcircumstances without sufficient resources to overcome thesituation and remain housed .
Homeless…What does it mean? Children who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence— -Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason -Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations -Living in emergency or transitional shelters -Abandoned in hospitals Awaiting foster care placement Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, etc. Migratory children living in above circumstances
Causes of Homelessness Health Domestic Problems Violence Natural & Deep Poverty Other Disasters Lack of Causes of Abuse/NeglectAffordable (Unaccompanied Youth) Housing Homelessness
Immediate Enrollment Provide MVA education and Attend School of rights Origin information Mckinney-Vento Act Federal HomelessAssistance withmedical / mental Education Legislation: Transportationhealth resources and referrals Student Rights Resources Access to Eliminate Educational and Barriers Other Services A safe, stable, and supportive school Advocacy!!! environment.
Barriers to Education for Homeless Children and Youth Enrollment High mobility requirements resulting in Lack of (school Lack of Poor Prejudice & lack of school Lack of schoolrecords, immuniz access to health, fatigue, misunderstanding stability & transportation supplies, clot ations, proof of programs hunger educational hing, etc. residency, & continuity guardianship)
Challenges faced by homeless students: High Precarious Living PovertyMobility Conditions Significant Educational, Health, and Emotional Difficulties• At least 20% of homeless children do not attend school.• Within a year, 41% of homeless children will attend two different schools, 28% of homeless children will attend three or more different schools.• With each change in schools, a student is set back academically by an average of four to six months.• Children experiencing homelessness often feel like outsiders and have difficulty maintaining friendships due to frequent moves. Their lives feel out of control, and they often experience anxiety and depression as a result.• Many homeless children lack basic school supplies and a reasonable environment in which to do homework.• Unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness confront these and other challenges associated with homelessness without the support and guidance of a caring adult.
Common Signs of Homelessness Lack of continuity in Education Social and Behavioral Concerns Attendance at many different schools • A marked change in behavior Lack of records needed to enroll • Poor/short attention span Inability to pay fees • Poor self-esteem Gaps in skill development • Extreme shyness Mistaken diagnosis of abilities • Unwillingness to risk forming relationships Poor organization skills with peers and teachers Poor ability to conceptualize • Difficulty socializing at recess • Difficulty trusting people • Aggression Poor Health/Nutrition • “Old” beyond years Lack of immunizations and/or • Protective of parents immunizations records • Clinging behavior Unmet medical and dental needs • Developmental delays Respiratory problems • Fear of abandonment Skin rashes • School phobia (student wants to be with Chronic hunger (may hoard food) parent) Fatigue (may fall asleep in class) • Anxiety late in the school day Transportation and Attendance Problems Poor Hygiene• Erratic attendance and tardiness • Lack of shower facilities/washers, etc.• Numerous absences • Wearing same clothes for several days• Lack of participation in after-school • Inconsistent grooming activities• Lack of participation in field trips• Inability to contact parents Reaction/Statements by Parent, Guardian, or Child Lack of Personal Space After School • Exhibiting anger or embarrassment when asked• Consistent lack of preparation for about current address school • Mention of staying with grandparents, other• Incomplete or missing homework (no relatives, friends, or in a motel, or place to work or keep supplies) comments, such as “I don’t remember the• Unable to complete special projects (no name of the last school.” access to supplies) • “We’ve been moving around a lot.”• Lack of basic school supplies • “Our address is new; I can’t remember it”• Loss of books and other supplies on a • “We’re staying with relatives until we get regular basis • settled.”• Concern for safety of belongings • “We’re going through a bad time.” Note: While these are considered common signs, please recognize that they only offer general guidance. There is significant variability within the school-age homeless population. Individual students may differ significantly from the following general characteristics. (www.serve.org/nche)
Quick Tips: 10 Things Teachers Can Do To Help Homeless Students Help homeless Keep needed students make toiletry items on plans for Make the transportation for hand to assist the student in student feel after-school maintaining proper welcome. activities or other hygiene. special events. Ask your School Social Work Select a student about resources Keep a supply of to be their for your nutritional snacks “buddy” on the students who in your room. first day of class. may be MVA eligible. Provided any Refer student to tools/supplies tutoring or other necessary to complete educational any required task.resources if needed. Supplies may not be readily available to the student. Coordinate an educational Give the student a plan for the clipboard to take student with home and use as a the school portable desk for counselor. doing homework.
“…Through it all, school isprobably the only thing that haskept me going. I know that everyday that I walk in those doors, Ican stop thinking about myproblems for the next six hoursand concentrate on what is mostimportant to me. Without thesupport of my school system, Iwould not be as well off as I amtoday. School keeps me motivatedto move on, and encourages me tofind a better life for myself.” Carrie Arnold, LeTendre Scholar, 2002
Westley Wood - Director of Homeless Education (336) 667-1121)Frieda Howard - Homeless Education Liaison (336) 667-1121)Lisa Phillips - State Coordinator for Homeless Education(336) 315-7491 Angel Bell • *East Wilkes High, *East Wilkes Middle, *Roaring River Elementary, *Ronda East District Clingman Elementary, *C.B. Eller firstname.lastname@example.org Elementary, *C.C. Wright Elementary Billie Howell • *West Wilkes High, *West Wilkes Middle, *Millers Creek Elementary, *Mt. West District Pleasant Elementary, *North Wilkesboro email@example.com Elementary, *Wilkes Early College High Regina Brown • *North Wilkes High School, *North Wilkes North District Middle School, *Traphill Elementary, *Mountain firstname.lastname@example.org View Elementary, *Mulberry Elementary Whitney Morrow • *Wilkes Central High, *Central Wilkes Middle, Central District *Wilkesboro Elementary, *Moravian Falls email@example.com Elementary, *Boomer Ferguson Elementary For school contact information, please call WCS or visit: http://www.wilkes.k12.nc.us/schools.html