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  • Supporting the Education of Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness 336.315.7400 Helpline: 800.308.2145 | homeless@serve.org www.nche.ed.gov

    College and Career Counseling for Students Experiencing Homelessness: Promising Practices for Secondary School Counselors A National Center for Homeless Education Research Summary

    December 2017

    mailto:homeless@serve.org

  • National Center for Homeless Education

    Supporting the Education of Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness

    Ph: 336.315.7400 Helpline: 800.308.2145

    Email: homeless@serve.org Web: http://nche.ed.gov

    Authored by: Stacey A. Havlik, Ph.D. Assistant Professor

    Villanova University

    mailto:homeless@serve.org http://nche.ed.gov/

  • Table of Contents

    Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 4

    Homelessness and Education ................................................................................................................ 5 Defining “Homeless Children and Youths” .................................................................................... 5 Unaccompanied Homeless Children and Youth ............................................................................. 5 Background on Homelessness and Education ................................................................................ 5

    ESSA and The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act ................................................................ 8 New Requirement for College and Career Readiness .................................................................... 8

    School Counseling ............................................................................................................................... 10 School Counseling and College and Career Development ........................................................... 10

    School Counseling and Students Experiencing Homelessness .......................................................... 13

    College and Career Preparation for Students Experiencing Homelessness........................................ 18 School Counselors’ Roles in the College and Career Development of Students Experiencing Homelessness .......................................................................................................... 19

    Implications for School Counselors .................................................................................................... 22

    Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................... 27

    References............................................................................................................................................ 28

    APPENDIX A 10 Tips for Secondary School Counselors to Help Students Experiencing Homelessness Prepare for College ...................................................................................................... 36

    APPENDIX B Beyond Academics: Supporting Youths Experiencing Homelessness in Gaining Control of their Futures ......................................................................................................... 38

    APPENDIX C Questions to Assess the College and Career Preparedness for Youths Experiencing Homelessness ................................................................................................................ 40

    APPENDIX D Helpful Websites and Resources ................................................................................ 42

  • College and Career Counseling for Students Experiencing Homelessness: Promising Practices for Secondary School Counselors | 4 National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) | http://nche.ed.gov

    Introduction

    The education subtitle of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as amended in December 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), includes a new requirement for school counselors to support students experiencing homelessness in their college and career readiness. In their roles, school counselors can identify and facilitate services and coordinate programs and interventions to support the college and career preparation and transition for students experiencing homelessness. In order to equip school counselors to meet this new requirement and to contribute to the overall success of students experiencing homelessness, this research summary provides an overview of the research, issues, and practices related to secondary school counselors’ roles in supporting students experiencing homelessness in their postsecondary planning.

  • College and Career Counseling for Students Experiencing Homelessness: Promising Practices for Secondary School Counselors | 5 National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) | http://nche.ed.gov

    Homelessness and Education

    Defining “Homeless Children and Youths”

    Subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance establishes the definition of homeless used by U.S. public schools. According to the Act, homeless children and youths means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and includes: • children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing,

    economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals;

    • children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings (within the meaning of section 11302(a)(2)(C) 1 of this title);

    • children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and

    • migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in the circumstances described above [42 U.S.C. § 11434a(2)].

    Unaccompanied Homeless Children and Youth

    One subgroup of students experiencing homelessness includes those who are considered unaccompanied. According to the McKinney-Vento Act, the term unaccompanied youth includes a homeless child or youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian [42 U.S.C. § 11434a(6)]. Unaccompanied homeless students may face unique challenges related to college and career development, as compared to students who are experiencing homelessness who have parental or guardian support. Background on Homelessness and Education

    The number of students identified as homeless and enrolled in schools increased by 3.5% over a three-year span during the 2012-2013 to 2014-2015 school years (National Center for Homeless Education [NCHE], 2016). That is, approximately 2.5 million, or one in every 30 children, are identified as homeless in the United States (NCHE, 2014). According to NCHE (2016), in the 2014-2015 school year nearly 1.3 million students experiencing homelessness were enrolled in public school districts across the country. Further, although the data is limited on the numbers of students experiencing homelessness transitioning to college after high school, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data indicates that in 2015-2016 school year 31,948 unaccompanied homeless youth applied for financial aid (NCHE, n.d.). Moreover, homelessness may continue into college, with 13-14% of a national sample of community college students identifying as homeless (Goldrick-Rab, Richardson, & Hernandez, 2017).

    Homelessness among families with children can be caused by several factors, including a lack of affordable housing, extreme poverty, decreased governmental supports, racial disparities, and/or trauma, including domestic violence (The National Center on Family Homelessness, 2014;

  • College and Career Counseling for Students Experiencing Homelessness: Promising Practices for Secondary School Counselors | 6 National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) | http://nche.ed.gov

    National Coalition for the Homeless, 2017). With large cities across the U.S. reporting a shortage of affordable housing (United States Conference of Mayors, 2016), families may be unable to keep up with rising housing costs leading them towards homelessness. For youths who are unaccompanied and become homeless, their loss of housing is often related to running away from home or being asked by parents or other family members to leave the home, or to situations and circumstances that make it impossible for them to come back home (Child Trends, 2015). Unaccompanied homeless youth often experienced dysfunction in their home associated with substance abuse, sexual activity or orientation, parental abuse or neglect, or incarceration, and other factors like deportation, illness, or death that made it necessary to leave home (NCHE, 2013).

    In general, NCHE (2016) reports that the housing locations of students experiencing homelessness break down as follows: • 76% live doubled-up with other families due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar

    reason; • 14% live in shelters; • 7% reside in hotels or motels due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; and • 3% are considered unsheltered.

    It is important to note that the numbers above may not capture many of the youths who are