Homelessness has a tremendous effect on a child's education.
Education of homeless youth is thought to be essential in breaking the cycle of poverty.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act mandates equal opportunity to a free public education to homeless students.
This act is supposed to break down the barriers homeless students have to receiving an education. These barriers include residency restriction, medical record verification, and transportation issues.
Once a student surpasses these barriers, they are still subject to the stigma of being homeless, and the humiliation they feel because of their situation. Some families do not report their homelessness, while others are unaware of the opportunities available to them.
Many report that maintaining a stable school environment helps the students because it's the only thing that remains normal. Many homeless students fall behind their peers in school due to behavioral disorders, and lack of attendance in school.
Since the housing market fall out there has been a rise is homeless students. NAEHCY or the National Association for the Education of Homeless for Children and Youth, has reported that there has been a rise in homeless student as much as 99% within a three month period.
Due to the provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act many school districts are struggling to provide the necessary services, such as rising transportation needs and the greater severity of services. One of the biggest challenges is providing transportation to students who are experiencing homelessness.
There are few approaches that can be utilize to provide transportation for these students within our cities. Another challenge is providing proper outer-wear for students who are homeless. Being homeless in long, cold winters, all students need proper outerwear to go outside. Proper outerwear includes snow boots, hat, mittens, snow pants, and a winter jacket that has a working zipper or buttons on it.
This expense adds up quickly and is hard to provide to the increasing number of homeless students. School supplies are also a burden as is dietary concerns.
Homeless children experience hunger almost 4 times as much as a normal single-parent household or the poor. This is especially worrisome since homeless students are 1) 1.5 times more likely to perform below grade level in reading; 2)1.5 times more likely to perform below grade level in spelling; and 3) 2.5 times more likely to perform below grade level in math.