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Supporting Students Who Are Experiencing Homelessness

Published on May 25, 2023

Homelessness is a difficult experience for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for students. Not having a stable place to live can have a significant impact on a student's academic success, mental health, and overall well-being. If you are an educator, there are several ways you can support students who are experiencing homelessness. 

  • Recognize the signs of homelessness: The first step in supporting homeless students is to be able to recognize when a student is experiencing homelessness. Homelessness does not always look the way we expect it to, and it can be easy to miss the signs. Some common signs include chronic absenteeism, changes in behavior or mood, and a lack of basic supplies like school materials or hygiene products. 
  • Build a relationship: One of the most important things you can do to support a student experiencing homelessness is to build a relationship with them. This means taking the time to get to know them as an individual and understanding their unique situation. By building a positive relationship, you can provide emotional support and create a safe and stable environment for the student. 
  • Connect them with resources: Many communities have resources available to support homeless students, such as shelters, food banks, and other social services. Make sure you are familiar with the resources in your community and connect students with the appropriate services. You can also help students access resources like school supplies, transportation, and meals. 

"Supporting students experiencing homelessness can be challenging, but it's an essential part of creating a safe and inclusive learning environment."

  • Provide stability at school: School can provide a sense of stability for students experiencing homelessness, so it's important to make sure that they feel supported and welcome in the school environment. This may involve providing extra academic support, helping students find a safe place to store their belongings, or connecting them with extracurricular activities that can help them feel more connected to their peers. 
  • Be flexible and understanding: Homeless students may face unique challenges that can make it difficult for them to keep up with schoolwork or attend school regularly. It's important to be flexible and understanding of their situation and to work with them to find solutions that work for everyone. This may involve offering additional tutoring or allowing them to complete work at home if they don't have a stable place to stay. 
  • Be sensitive to their privacy: Homelessness can be a sensitive issue, so it's important to be respectful of a student's privacy. Make sure you are not discussing the student's situation with others unless it is necessary and ensure that their personal information is kept confidential. 

Supporting students experiencing homelessness can be challenging, but it's an essential part of creating a safe and inclusive learning environment. By recognizing the signs of homelessness, building positive relationships, connecting students with resources, providing stability at school, being flexible and understanding, respecting their privacy, and advocating for policy changes, educators can make a significant difference in the lives of homeless students. 

Tags: property & casualty

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