Homeless Family Resources

A homeless student is one who:

  • Does not have a permanent home
  • Lives in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds
  • Is in State care or custody
  • Lives in cars, parks, public places, abandoned buildings, sub-standard buildings, or similar settings
  • Shares housing of other persons due to the loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
  • Is considered an unaccompanied youth (youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian)

Resources for families in need in Cambridge

Homelessness in Cambridge

  • 1% of the U.S. population is homeless each year; 39% of which are children.1
  • Families with children are among the fastest growing group of the homeless population.2
  • About 20,000 people are homeless in MA.2
  • In the school year 2010-2011, about 400 homeless students attended Cambridge Public Schools.

How Homelessness Affects a Student’s Education

  • Students who are homeless are four times more likely than non-homeless students to show slow development. They are also twice as likely to have learning disabilities.3
  • 87% of homeless students enroll in school, but only 77% attend school regularly.4
  • Homeless families move a lot due to limits on length of shelter stays, to search for safe and affordable housing or employment, or to escape abusive partners. Often homeless children have to change schools because shelters or other accommodations are not located in their school district. In recent years, 42% of homeless children transferred schools at least once, and 51% of these students transferred twice or more.5
  • Students may have difficulty learning until they adapt to a new setting because they must get used to new teachers, schedules, and friends.2
  • Parent/guardian energy may be focused on finding food, clothing, and shelter, which can add to the disruption of a child’s education.2
  • Every time a student has to change schools, his or her education is disrupted. According to some estimates, 3-6 months of education are lost
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