Community partnerships can help homeless youth

Posted by Aja Williams on
Kasey was one of the smartest kids in her classes.
Will Thwaites

Thousands of students walk hallways, crowd into lunch lines and file into classrooms, but one might never guess that several of those children could be homeless.

More than 2.5 million children in the United States were homeless at some point in 2013, which breaks down to 1 in 30 children, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness.

With instability in their personal life, homeless children can often miss school days, classes and possibly drop out altogether, the organization said.

According to a recent U.S. Department of Education blog post, schools and local communities can really take a stand to help end homelessness, not just for children but also for families.

“Schools, with additional support from local community organizations and governments and private foundations, are a critical link to help stabilize the family by reducing mobility, supporting enrollment and attendance, providing homework support and improving student achievement,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in the post.

Programs in Tacoma, Washington, San Francisco, California and Boulder, Colorado already exist to help families who are homeless receive greater resources to provide stability financially, emotionally and socially.

PBS addresses and looks at this issue through Independent Lens with “The Homestretch.”

The film, which is a part of American Graduate, looks at the lives of three Chicago teens struggling with homelessness and reaching their dreams to succeed. The film also focuses on a number of other dynamic issues – poverty, diversity, etc. – that make the award-winning documentary a must-watch film.

The film premieres nationally April 13 on PBS. Check your local listings.