Panel: Addressing the Homelessness Crisis in K-12 Education: Examining Multiple Outcomes and Policy Recommendations

Friday, November 9, 2018: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
8226 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Tasminda K. Dhaliwal, University of Southern California
Discussants:  Joshua Cowen, Michigan State University and Hannah Johnson, Virginia Commonwealth University

Risk and Protective Factors for Mental Health Challenges and Risk Behavior of Youth Experiencing Homelessness
Mary E. Haskett, Caitlyn R. Owens and Jenna M. Armstrong, North Carolina State University

No Place Like Home: Outcomes for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Los Angeles
Soledad De Gregorio, Tasminda K. Dhaliwal, Ann Owens and Gary Painter, University of Southern California

Chronic and Acute Risks of Student Homelessness: Implications for Education
J. J. Cutuli, Rutgers University, Camden and Janette E. Herbers, Villanova University

The Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) emphasis on better identifying, serving, and tracking homeless students served to draw attention to the needs and outcomes of this vulnerable population. While the number of students experiencing homelessness is growing in many urban centers, the research community’s understanding of K-12 homelessness is disjointed--with various disciplines studying different facets of the homeless student experience. This panel brings together researchers and practitioners studying homelessness across disciplines and across the country for 1) a holistic examination of the academic, behavioral, and mental health outcomes of homeless students, 2) a better understanding of the moderating factors that lead to these outcomes, and 3) discussion of policy recommendations and the impacts of proposed interventions.

The first two papers in this panel examine the mental health and behavioral outcomes of homeless students using Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data. The first paper examines mental health outcomes using national population-representative 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data and explores the role of moderating role of victimization experiences, after school supervision, perceived teacher support, and involvement in substance use as moderating factors. The second paper uses nationally-representative survey data from 2017 and qualitative interview data to identify mental health and behavioral risk factors that are most strongly associated with homelessness and how students experiencing homelessness perceive the impact of these risk factors on their schooling experiences. The paper concludes with a set of policy recommendations for supporting students experiencing homeless, including how to address the mental and behavioral health risk factors prevalent amongst these students.

The second two papers in this panel examine the academic and school-based outcomes of K-12 students experiencing homelessness. The third paper uses 2009-2010 to 2016-2017 administrative data from the Los Angeles Unified School District to examine if the frequency and duration of homelessness has differential impacts on academic achievement and school attendance. By examining the homeless experiences of students, this paper will shed light on how frequency and duration moderates the effects of homelessness. The final paper uses data from Minneapolis and the surrounding county to examine the academic growth in Math and ELA of homeless and highly mobile students as compared to the general population and other students living in poverty (i.e., FRL-eligible students). The paper also incorporates findings from a randomized control trial that examines how housing interventions influence the academic outcomes of students experiencing temporary and chronic homelessness.

This panel is designed to produce a richer dialogue about the challenges faced by K-12 homeless students and potential solutions by putting research on mental health and behavioral outcomes in conversation with research on academic outcomes. These presentation will be paired with comments from two discussants, one who will speak to the academic and methodological merits of each paper and the other who will speak to how the themes in these papers align with experience of being a homeless student and homeless advocate.

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