For the Homeless Youth Who Just Want to Go to School
Career Path : Education News
1.26 million students were homeless in the 2012-13 school year, with 317,000 being in high school. While schools must provide education and transportation for homeless youth, they are not permitted to give them shelter. Unfortunately, this prohibits many youth from attending school at all. As a child, most of us tried our hardest to fit in best we could. But how do you fit in when your clothes aren’t like any else’s, when you can’t talk about your family, and when you have no place to go home to after school?
High school students aren`t the only youth struggling to get an education. Some may remember the “Bobst Boy” story which reached headlines several years ago. An NYU student, working four jobs and with assistance from loans, could not afford housing, thus he lived in the school’s Bobst Library for eight months.
School districts have a liaison whose job it is to identify homeless youth and coordinate their education and transportation. Housing is a tricky situation, because for students in the 15-17 age range, foster case is something that they would already have grown out of. They are stuck in a grey area of being no longer a child but not yet an adult.
There are community organizations which work with an education coordinator to pair a homeless youth with a family who mentors the high schooler and ensures they go to school. Unfortunately, these services are not always available everywhere, and students may decide that other life necessities rule out going to school. One education coordinator points out that these children should not be considered “drop outs”. These children are for the most part not misfits, and desire an education as much as any other child. The majority of homeless youth have left home due to neglect or abuse, and in their situations, the streets is a better options than what is at home.
“These kids know that education is their way out of what they went through”.
There are some wonderful establishments which offer students housing and education, such as the Covenant House in Toronto. This organization helps children get back on their feet in time to graduate high school and get a job which can pay for their housing and further education. We can be thankful that today, most all towns and cities have a specialized shelter dedicated to young people, many which are coordinated with an education plan or in-house classes. Funding for these establishments is their biggest problem, which can be countered by community fundraising efforts and encouragement for the government to increase funding to local shelters.
Source: U.S. News