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Students Experiencing Homelessness
Students Experiencing Homelessness in California
California

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California Value:

3.8%

Percentage of public school students who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence

California Rank:

49

Students Experiencing Homelessness in depth:

Students Experiencing Homelessness by State

Percentage of public school students who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence




Students Experiencing Homelessness Trends

Percentage of public school students who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence

Trend: Students Experiencing Homelessness in California, United States, 2023 Health Of Women And Children Report

Percentage of public school students who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence

California
United States
Source:

 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Homeless Education, Federal Data Summary

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Students Experiencing Homelessness

Trend: Students Experiencing Homelessness in California, United States, 2023 Health Of Women And Children Report

Percentage of public school students who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence

California
United States
Source:

 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Homeless Education, Federal Data Summary

About Students Experiencing Homelessness

US Value: 2.2%

Top State(s): Connecticut: 0.7%

Bottom State(s): New York: 4.8%

Definition: Percentage of public school students who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence

Data Source and Years: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Homeless Education, Federal Data Summary, 2021

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Homeless Education, Federal Data Summary, United Health Foundation, AmericasHealthRankings.org, accessed 2023.

Homelessness and housing instability can contribute to poor health, especially for children and adolescents. Common health problems among homeless children and youth include:

  • Greater incidence of illness and injury.
  • Greater prevalence and severity of chronic conditions.
  • Sexually transmitted infections and unplanned or unwanted pregnancies.
  • Mental health problems and substance use.
  • Increased risk of poor nutrition and diabetes.

Many homeless children attend school. During the 2020-2021 school year, more than a million students were identified by schools as homeless. Families with children made up nearly 30% of the total homeless population in 2022, with about 51,000 family households experiencing homelessness in one single night. More than 30,000 unaccompanied youth under the age of 25 experienced homelessness in a single night that year, 9% of whom were children under 18.

According to the National Center for Homeless Education, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, Black and Hispanic students are overrepresented in homelessness compared with Asian and white students.

Additional research has found that populations with a higher risk of homelessness include:

  • LGBT youth compared with non-LGBT youth.
  • Youth who have experienced housing instability, severe family conflict or abuse.

Ending student homelessness requires a coordinated community and government response. Early identification of and intervention with at-risk youth should involve collaboration among child welfare agencies, criminal justice systems, education systems and community programs. 

Housing and school partnerships offer a promising approach to ending student homelessness. These partnerships aim to build housing stability for families and increase school attendance among youth. For students experiencing the instability of homelessness, supportive school environments can be a place of safety and security. Schools also provide meals, which are critical for students who may not have access to food at home.

More permanent solutions, such as affordable housing and transitional living programs, are important to preventing reentry into homelessness. Solutions like Housing First programs have seen success in increasing housing stability. Evidence suggests that the economic benefits of these programs outweigh the costs. 

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness has identified four developmentally appropriate approaches to reducing housing instability among youth and young adults. The National Conference of State Legislatures provides an overview of recent state policy action related to youth homelessness in the areas of education, foster care, juvenile justice, minor consent for services, vital identification records and shelters. The Voices of Youth Count provides several recommendations for addressing youth homelessness, including tracking progress, tailoring strategies to high-risk populations and building preventive structures into existing systems.

Healthy People 2030 recognizes the role of safe housing as a social determinant of health and has an objective to reduce the proportion of families that spend more than 30% of their income on housing. 

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness has a goal of reducing housing instability among youth and young adults.

Atwell, Matthew N., Eleanor P. Manspile, and John M. Bridgeland. 2020. “Strategies for Success: Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness.” Civic. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED607092.pdf.

de Sousa, Tanya, Alyssa Andrichik, Marissa Cuellar, Jhenelle Marson, Ed Prestera, Katherine Rush, and Abt Associates. 2022. “The 2022 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR to Congress) Part 1: Point-In-Time Estimates of Homelessness, December 2022.” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Community Planning and Development. https://www.huduser.gov/portal/sites/default/files/pdf/2022-ahar-part-1.pdf.

Endres, Christina. 2022. “Student Homelessness in America: School Years 2018-19 to 2020-21.” University of North Carolina at Greensboro: National Center for Homeless Education. https://nche.ed.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Student-Homelessness-in-America-2022.pdf.

Fernandes-Alcantara, Adrienne L. 2019. “Runaway and Homeless Youth: Demographics and Programs.” RL33785-Version 57. CRS Report RL33785. Congressional Research Service. https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/RL/RL33785.

Jacob, Verughese, Sajal K. Chattopadhyay, Sharon Attipoe-Dorcoo, Yinan Peng, Robert A. Hahn, Ramona Finnie, Jamaicia Cobb, Alison E. Cuellar, Karen M. Emmons, and Patrick L. Remington. 2022. “Permanent Supportive Housing With Housing First: Findings From a Community Guide Systematic Economic Review.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 62 (3): e188–201. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2021.08.009.

Morton, Matthew H., Amy Dworsky, and Gina Miranda Samuels. 2017. “Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America. National Estimates.” Research-to-Impact Brief. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. https://voicesofyouthcount.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/VoYC-National-Estimates-Brief-Chapin-Hall-2017.pdf.

Terry, Marisa J., Gurpreet Bedi, and Neil D. Patel. 2010. “Healthcare Needs of Homeless Youth in the United States.” Journal of Pediatric Sciences 2: e17.  https://dergipark.org.tr/en/download/article-file/178794

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