From AYPF: Postsecondary Support and Success for Homeless Youth

For many young people, their roadmap for success includes graduating from high school, advancing to college, and getting a job. For most homeless youth, however, the roadmap isn’t as clear.

In my last blog post, I discussed who the homeless youth in America are and the general challenges they must overcome. However, what happens to homeless youth after they graduate from high school or earn an equivalent degree, and lose many of the support systems that existed?

Homeless youth can benefit from the services provided through public schools. However, once youth graduate high school or earn an equivalent degree, it can be difficult for them to continue their education. One of the first obstacles that homeless youth face once they complete their secondary education is the loss of attentive and helpful teachers, local homeless liaisons, or other school staff.

"During the 2012-2013 school year there were 1,258,182 homeless students enrolled in school, of which 317,081 were in high school and at least 62,890 were unaccompanied youth. The needs of these students can be met through a network of post-secondary support programs."

Post-Secondary Housing Needs
College and university dormitories are typically closed during holiday breaks, which is a huge problem for homeless youth attending universities. However, there are schools that allow youth to stay on campus year-round, alleviating their housing worries at winter and summer break. Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Georgia offers year-round housing in addition to their Campus Awareness, Resource & Empowerment (CARE) Center for homeless students. Other schools, like the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), are knitting on-campus resources together through groups like the Economic Crisis Response (ECR) Team. UCLA’s ECR Team works hard to help self-identified students stay in school by providing supports from every day necessities to in depth financial counseling.

National Network of Support
Georgia, where KSU is located, is one of many states that is part of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth’s (NAEHCY) State Higher Education Networks. NAEHCY provides technical assistance, training, and facilitation to help their network develop a statewide strategy for homeless youth in higher education. The systems coordination of NAECHY’s diverse stakeholders allows members to collaborate, identify, and address barriers to higher education access, retention, and success for homeless youth.

To read the full blog post, visit AYPF’s Forum for Thought.

November is National Homeless Youth Awareness MonthNational Runaway Prevention Month, and this year National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week is from November 15 - 23, 2014.

Garet Fryar is the Policy Research Assistant at the American Youth Policy Forum.

Photo credit: Flickr

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