Improving Homeless Student Identification in an Urban High School

Donald Crider

Abstract

Homelessness has a profound effect on the education of many students; a majority of whom do not seek support services that could be of benefit to them. The exacerbation of emotional pressures on homeless students, those already overburdened by external stressors, impacts the educational environment. This study theorized that schools perpetuate homeless stereotypes and racial disparity, increasing homeless students' discomfort in school. An intersectional relationship of these pressures decreased a student's willingness to self-disclose their homeless status. This study conducted interviews with 15 students experiencing homelessness to document why students would avoid seeking school-based support. This research aimed to increase awareness of educational limitations for the proper identification of student homelessness. The research uncovered the stereotype and racial restrictions with identifying students eligible for homeless support. This study identified the need for improved teacher understanding of student discomfort with homelessness, and made recommendations on how a public school system could improve the identification of homeless students; thus increasing the number of eligible students that received support services.