5 Ways Homeless Students are Impacting Education in Florida
Think back to when you were in grade school.
Your daily routine may have included catching the bus to school from your home; sitting in class and taking tests; socializing with friends at lunch and recess; and going home and doing your homework before you get a good night’s sleep for the next day.
All of these routines become many times more difficult when a child is experiencing homelessness.
Today the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies at the University of Florida, in partnership with Miami Homes for All, has released a new study on Homelessness and Education in Florida: Impacts on Children and Youth. Their research (made possible by the financial support of JPMorgan Chase & Co.) identified 72,601 schoolchildren in Florida as homeless, and has unveiled some striking insights on the state of student homelessness both in our state and in our region.
Here are just five new pieces of data from the study — you can read more in the full study linked from this page.
#1: Nearly 15,000 students were identified as homeless in the four-county area (Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties) during the 2015-2016 school year.
This number has nearly quadrupled since the last count during the 2007-2008 school year, but it’s not necessarily because the number has increased. School districts have been making a concerted effort to find students experiencing homelessness in recent years.
#2: 96% of homeless youth are accompanied by their families; 4% are unaccompanied youth.
Few students are experiencing homelessness on their own. Most school district liaisons cited the lack of housing that low-income families could afford as a root cause of students’ housing instability.
#3: Most students experiencing homelessness were doubled up with others or living in hotels and motels.
The above graphic shows the data from Central Florida. Statewide, 74% of students who were identified as homeless during the 2015-2016 school year were doubled up with family and friends. Eleven percent were staying in hotels and motel rooms. Ten percent were living in shelters and transitional housing.
#4: Homeless students are at a higher risk of absenteeism and truancy.
Homeless students miss more school days per year on average than students who are housed. They were also more likely to be identified as truant (with at least 15 unexcused absences within a 90-day period).
#5: Homeless students demonstrate a lower level of proficiency in academic subjects.
Passing rates in tested subjects (English Language Arts, Math, and Science) were significantly lower for homeless students than for housed students.
To get more involved in the work to end homelessness in Central Florida, contact the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness today.