Peacock Scholarship

Educating Homeless Youth -- A Forgotten Domestic Battle

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According to a 2007 report by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, approximately 3.5 million people (including 1.35 million children) become homeless each year. Of that number, about 125,000 people--a group the size of the entire population of Hartford, Connecticut or Waco, Texas--are persistently homeless, but the vast majority of homeless persons are temporarily homeless. In my thesis, I will focus more on the homeless youth. Many homeless youth lack the essential needs to have a successful transition to adulthood. Across the nation, an increasing number of families without homes are trying to provide or maintain a relatively stable educational setting for their children. It is reported that there are roughly 3.5 million homeless people in the United States. An estimated 40 percent of this figure is made up of homeless families. Close to 26 percent are children under the age of 18. The obstacles involved in educating homeless children are numerous. Homeless families often move from place to place, making it hard for their children to regularly attend school or even follow through with important paperwork requirements like school records transfers and immunization documentation. Many families simply lack the money for transportation to and from school. And for school districts, identifying homeless children is a daunting task – especially given the recently expanded definition of the term homeless to include those living in parks, motels, and doubled-up with relatives or extended family. “Distinguishing who is homeless and who is not is very difficult,” says Josh Diem, a homeless advocate and doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina. “You can’t just pick them out of a crowd.” (Jackson, New Jersey has several objectives and regulations put in place to help homeless children and youth attain the fundamental right of a free education. As we all know, everything is easier said than done. I want to make sure that these objectives are in fact put in place. As the Chinese Proverb says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

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  • 10/14/2020
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