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News Update

How schools can help California’s growing number of homeless students

To help California’s increasing number of homeless students, schools should offer more services and improve the way they identify students experiencing housing insecurity, according to a new brief released Tuesday by the Learning Policy Institute.

The number of homeless students in California increased by 7% over four years and has likely increased further during the pandemic, according to the report. In 2018-19, the most recent year for which data is available, 4.3% of students in California experienced homelessness at one point during the school year.

The state and federal governments have set aside billions for homeless aid in the past year, but they need to do more, according to the report. More funding for community schools, adding homeless students to the school funding formula, and training school staff to identify and help homeless students are among the report’s suggestions. It also recommends that California create a statewide “children’s cabinet” to encourage collaboration among agencies that serve children.

“Student homelessness in California is of urgent concern and may increase further still in the coming months due to the impacts of COVID-19,” according to the report. “While California has made recent investments to reduce housing insecurity and address overall homelessness, additional steps will be needed to mitigate the impacts of homelessness on student experiences and outcomes.”