Success: Homeless US student population ‘highest in more than a decade’

The number of homeless students in the US is the highest in more than a decade according to a new study.

Most of the 1.5m homeless children stayed with other families or friends after losing their homes.

But 7% lived in abandoned buildings or cars, the report by the National Centre for Homeless Education showed.

Homelessness is often caused by job insecurity, unaffordable housing, domestic violence and recently the opioid crisis.

Living without a fixed address has a serious impact on children’s education and health.

Less than a third of homeless students were able to read adequately, and they scored even lower in mathematics and science, the report showed.

“Homeless children are in crisis mode, and because they don’t have the luxury of focusing on school, they often fall behind,” Amanda Clifford, of the National Youth Forum on Homelessness (NYFH), told the BBC.

The most recent data was recorded in 2017-18 and was more than double the nearly 680,000 homeless students reported in 2004-05, the director of National Centre for Homeless Education told the New York Times.

The research measures the number of children in schools who report being homeless at some point during an academic year. As such, it does not show the total population of homeless young people in the US.

Why is student homelessness increasing?

Homelessness is a growing problem in the US, usually linked to the national housing crisis.

Millions of people spend more than half their income on housing, and many report they cannot afford to buy a house.

Increasing rents and a housing shortage has forced thousands of people in California to live in caravans or inadequate housing.

A changing economy, with factories closing down or the rise of the insecure gig economy, also leaves parents unable to pay rent.

The opioid crisis, in which almost two million people are addicted to prescription drugs, is also causing some families to break up or children to be removed from their homes.

A disproportionate number of homeless youth are LGBT, according to University of California Williams Institute.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51370060

In collaboration with The Palette Fund and True Colors Fund, a new report finds that nearly all homeless youth service providers serve LGBT youth. Among the key findings, 94% of respondents from agencies reported working with LGBT youth, with providers indicating that 30% of their clients identified as gay or lesbian, 9% identified as bisexual, and 1% as transgender (for a total LGBT population served of 40%). Additionally, more than 75% of responding agencies worked with transgender youth in the past year. Survey findings suggest that 30% of clients in housing programs targeting youth are LGBT.

“The findings from this survey demonstrate that many LGBT youth are at high risk of homelessness, often as a result of family rejection and abuse. The analyses offer critical insights into the challenges that these young people face when they seek help during a very difficult time in their lives,” states Laura E. Durso, study co-author and Public Policy Fellow at the Williams Institute.

Nearly seven in ten (68%) respondents indicated that family rejection was a major factor contributing to LGBT youth homelessness, making it the most cited factor. More than half (54%) of respondents indicated that abuse in their family was another important factor contributing to LGBT homelessness.

“The results of this survey act as further confirmation that America’s next generation of gay and transgender youth need us to stand with them so that they can stand on their own,” said Gregory Lewis, executive director of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund and its recently launched Forty to None Project, which seeks to empower LGBT homeless youth and raise awareness of the issues they face….

https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/williams-in-the-news/lgbt-homeless-youth/

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