Tuesday, October 2 2018

Success in school begins with a stable place to live, study and thrive

Students experiencing homelessness have academic outcomes well below those of students who are housed. They are far more likely to score low on state proficiency tests, miss days of school and fail to graduate on time. They also fare worse academically than low-income students who are housed.

 Students experiencing homelessness have academic outcomes well below those of students who are housed

Those are just some of the key findings within a new comprehensive analysis of state student homelessness data released today by Building Changes, as part of our Schoolhouse Washington project. Our report offers further evidence of the inextricable tie between housing stability and a student’s educational success.

Using raw data that the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction provided to us, we analyzed trends and characteristics of student homelessness; compared academic outcomes among students who are homeless, housed and low-income; and disaggregated outcomes by race/ethnicity and nighttime residence.

In producing this report, Building Changes declares a renewed urgency to further evaluate and address the overrepresentation of students of color in the homeless population. Our analysis finds that six of every 10 students experiencing homelessness in our state are students of color. The student homelessness rate is higher or substantially higher among students who are Black/African American, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, or two or more races when compared to white students.

The report also concludes that students experiencing homelessness who are doubled-up (staying with others due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason) have similarly poor academic outcomes as those living in hotels/motels, in shelters and unsheltered. 

Our Schoolhouse Washington project aims to improve housing stability and advance educational success for the more than 40,000 students experiencing homelessness in our state—about half of whom are grade 5 or younger.

Download the full report: Students Experiencing Homelessness in Washington’s K-12 Public Schools: 2016-17 Trends, Characteristics and Academic Outcomes