The Impact of Homelessness on Education

For children across the nation, education isn’t always as simple as hopping on a bus and heading to school. Simply finding a way to get to school, or being in one place long enough to become enrolled are only two challenges facing children experiencing homelessness when trying get an education.

How does homelessness affect education?

Imagine not having a set place to live; constantly being uprooted. Many schools have residency requirements, which prevent children without one from being able to even enroll in a school. If a child is able to enroll, many schools require immunization records, which also serves as a big barrier to becoming enrolled.

Now, imagine you are a child and have moved 3 times within the past year because of shelter stay limits. Every time a child has to change schools their education is disrupted and put on hold. Some estimate that 3-6 months of education are lost with every move, putting children experiencing homelessness significantly behind others their age.

Continuously falling behind in education makes children experiencing homelessness four times more likely to show slow development, and two times more likely to have learning disabilities. This then directly affects the child’s social development and their self-esteem.

How does homelessness indirectly affect education?

Many people experiencing homelessness do not have health insurance or access to adequate healthcare centers. Because of this, these children have four times as many respiratory infections and five times as many stomach infections. This means that children experiencing homelessness are more apt to miss more days of school than their peers.

How does a lack of education affect the future of children?

Without the exposure to consistent education, children are significantly more likely to stay in the cycle of poverty and homelessness as adults. Homelessness increases the likelihood of dropping out of high school due to the difficulty of staying in school without a permanent place of residence.

Looking for ways to help children experiencing homelessness in the Atlanta area and at our campuses? Here are a few ways you can help.

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