15 thoughts on “HOMELESS FAMILIES”

  1. With the holidays approaching, everyone is looking at their calendars and figuring out when they will be able to go home and see their families. For some, this is not an option. The article I read is about homeless families around the holidays. The story was about Cynthia Barthel, a homeless woman, and her three children. The article said that they bounce around from different homeless shelters and different churches just to get by throughout the year.
    Barthel settled on a homeless shelter that recommended she apply to the RAIHN program. The RAIHN program is an entity that holds life skills classes such as: parenting, job interviewing skills, stress and anger management. Barthel says that the teaching there is very respectful and does not treat people like they are lower class.
    I had not heard of such programs before reading this article. Honestly I did not know a whole lot about homeless shelters. From the sound of this article the RAIHN program is very unique. In the article it says that the RAIHN program states that their volunteers work over 16,000 hours for homeless families. This is encouraging to know that the people in the most need are going to have a little bit of relief for the holidays.

  2. https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-education-and-poverty-america

    This article discusses a research that analyzed poverty rates of 13,000 newborns born between 1967 and 2008. The factors for poverty-stricken households are; single mother household, unemployment, age of parent(s) and residence in inner cities. Little to no education for parent predicted children would more than likely continue the cycle of poverty. Achieving an education only for children is not the resolution to the bigger problem.
    States establish various social service programs to provide state and federal assistance for single mothers, unemployed, and inner city adults to achieve a better quality of life. Unfortunately, during the years research was conducted, several economic downfalls occurred which may or may have not been taken in consideration. Beginning, the federal government recession, 1969 moderate employment decline in good production and GNP for eleven months, 1973, 8.75% unemployment, 12.2% inflation dramatic decline in goods production, 11.2% interest rate, resignation of Richard Nixon, and massive increase in oil prices due to OPEC embargo. In 2007, the economy suffered from 9% unemployment, bank failure and two involuntary wars producing the first economic depression since 1938.
    During economic demise, individuals who were living at or near the poverty guideline suffered more than the average families living above poverty levels.

    On a personal opinion, if programs established aided to poverty-stricken parents, children would have a better opportunity to observe their parent working striving to achieve a substantial quality of life.

    1. When looking over the youtube videos that are required for this class ( EDC 550), one that stuck in my mind most was the one about children of homeless families. These children are required to go to school just like every other child in this country, but what happens after the school bell rings at the end of the day to go home? They are stuck either roaming the streets or at a homeless shelter in which they share with countless other families. When many think of the concept of homelessness, they picture the stereotypical homeless individual who are commonly seen on the streets. Even though this stereotype is completely wrong and shows much ignorance, many do forget about the innocent children that homelessness impacts. As, mentioned in a comment below, school should be a place where students feel as safe as possible where they can let their minds be nurtured. If a child is concerned about whether or not it is going to have food, water, or shelter, do you think he or she is really concerned about their school performance? No. Even if there are students who are concerned with this and do excel in school, homeless students do not have the resources and help they need outside of the classroom to make sure that they are maintaining the education that is being given to them during the day. I am a huge advocate of all children receiving an equal opportunity at a quality education, so when issues that are completely out of their control such as this come up, I think that someone, mainly teachers should make sure they go above and beyond to help them. These children’s parents have so much to worry about and the last thing they want for their children is for them to have to face the same hardships that they do.

  3. As it was stated in one of the earlier comments, a student being homeless is out of the teachers jurisdiction. If the teacher is able to see that the child is still receiving adequate care from his or her parents despite their dire situation, the teacher should treat the child as they treat every other one. The teacher should maintain to keep an eye on this child to see that their situation does not get out of hand, and keep in contact as well as they can with their parents to see if there is any improvement or anything they can do to help. These teachers if they felt was needed, could send the children home with some extra fun activities that fed their mind, but also kept them entertained and out of trouble. This is up to the discretion of the teacher though, because they do not want to step on the toes of the children’s parents or insult them in anyway.

    1. Homelessness is a systemic problem, however that does not mean that an individual teacher cannot help or does not have a responsibility to assist.
      The teacher can become an advocate in her/his school to push for official and unofficial programs to assist the homeless children in the school.
      The teacher can be the comforting adult for the homeless in the classroom as well as understanding the particular difficulties those children may have in completing homework.

      1. I completely agree that teachers can be an advocate in their schools. At the school I am observing, a few teachers and students have came together to create a “mitten drive”. The purpose is to have students donate gloves and mittens for students who need them, and for the homeless here in Lexington. While some may feel this is not doing much, in actuality it is. It is opening students eyes to the fact that their peers may be homeless. People believe homeless only affects older, mentally ill men, but this is untrue. Homeless can hit anyone, and often times homeless families that do not appear “homeless” may still need assistance.

      2. While I believe that homeless is systemic and institutional, I think there is much room for debate on the responsibility of educators to intervene. Below is a link to small gestures that are suggestions for educators to do in their classroom in the event a student is homeless. Many of these are effortless and necessary for an inclusive classroom in general. Some, however, require teachers to go above and beyond their means. An educator should always foster a positive, safe environment that is welcoming to students of all identities. In younger grade levels, it is essential that teachers attempt to make communication with parents. Special accommodations, to some extent, are also likewise possible and beneficial to students facing homelessness. The issue I have most prominently with some of these suggestions and others I have frequently seen is that many teachers receive minimal classroom budgets for supplies as is. It is irrational to expect that an educator can go above and beyond for a specific student (or more depending on the given location of the school and demographics of students) from their own pocket. Teachers, particularly recent graduates, are likely not in a financial position to consistently provide supplies and more for students from their own pocket. I believe it is better to not set a precedent of financially investing in a student if it cannot be done for another student in the future. Ultimately, it is left at the discretion of the individual educator which allows the role of the teacher to expand on an individualized basis, however, school should help financially support an educator’s assistance in the case of a homeless student. Protecting the role of teacher as it is defined is very important to the maintenance of educator’s rights and creates a more consistent learning experience for students.


      3. I agree Michael. How can a teacher say that they care about their students but only care about them when they are in the four walls of the school and not when they leave? I think if the teacher just sent home some resources for the parents and the children would be aiding ending the problem of homelessness. Again, I think this goes back to the discussion about what roles does everyone play in the homeless youth epidemic? Everyone, teachers included, have a vital role.

  4. The following link provides current graphs and data regarding homeless and sheltered youth in America. The graphs show that there re nearly 200,000 students living in shelters and 50,000 students who are homeless. While the numbers are probably greater as not all children were accounted for, this is still at least 250,000 students who don’t have a home. There are many distractions that being homeless can create, in which students bring those distractions to school with them. Being hungry, not knowing where you will sleep that night, or being cold can all impact student learning and achievement and prevent students from being the best students they can be. It is easy to forget that while we are wanting students to rise to the top, their school environment is only one piece of their puzzle, and their home (or lack of) environments also play a large part in their educational journey.


    1. I understand that homelessness is an issue that is hard for teachers to tackle, because a student being homeless is outside of the teachers realm. However, I think all teachers need to be trained in how to identify homeless and impoverished children and then they need to be trained in ways that they can help these kids. There are several ways that teachers can help these kids and parents. If they first recognize that these kids are suffering, they can offer resources and support systems for these families. The next step would be making sure these kids are fed and feel safe at school. A child cannot focus on education when they are worried about their basic needs. Sometimes teachers need to go the extra mile and bring food for their impoverished students in order to make sure they don’t go hungry. This is a tough situation, but if a teacher really cares, they will do what they can to help.

      1. I agree that teachers need to be trained to spot homeless and poor children. Many times teachers are trained however, the classrooms are overcrowded with students and often it’s not until the late in the year that a teacher will realize that the student is homeless. Oftentimes homeless families don’t want assistance such as free vouchers for clothes, ect due to the embarrassment and shame they feel. It’s easy to cast responsibility on teachers but the teachers job is to teach. They can offer all the programs necessary but some people just simply don’t want help. I’m speaking from personal experience. On the other hand, some families want help and ask for it. In those cases, absolutely teachers need to support these students and collaborate with the school social workers.

        1. I agree, many students and parents may not be accepting assistance because of embarrassment. I feel a teacher could supply students with assistance information in a way a simple as having a flyer on the classroom bulletin board, or even one outside the guidance office. This information could be posted with the numerous other flyers schools have on things such as abusive relationships or cigarette addiction. This way the information is readily available and students can access this without feeling embarrassed.

          Tackling homelessness could be a hard thing for teachers to do. Homelessness can happen extremely fast. For example, a woman can leave an abusive relationship and become homeless instantly. Not all homelessness students will “look” like a stereotypical homeless person. They may have just lost their home, but still be wearing nice, name brand clothes that are in good repair. As a future educator, I will not seek out homeless students to help, however, I will have material posted for their use.

  5. This article provides the state report card on childhood homelessness in Kentucky. Included in this article are state ranks in relation to the total of homeless children in Kentucky as of 2014, a description of who the homeless children are in Kentucky – age, sex, etc., housing and income, food security, and a discussion on how homelessness affects a child’s overall health. More specifically, this article creates and examines the link between homelessness and education. It offers a discussion on how homelessness negatively affects a child’s educational experience and academic achievement. Additionally, this report card includes a detailed conversation on the policy and planning in Kentucky regarding reducing the homeless population for children specifically. Overall, this is a great depiction of data and statistics focusing on homeless children and youth in Kentucky, as well as a well-developed conversation on how homelessness affects a child’s educational experience, using the state of Kentucky for specific data analysis.http://www.homelesschildrenamerica.org/pdf/report_cards/short/ky_short.pdf

  6. The homelessness in California is a totally different breed of homelessness than we think of in Kentucky. When living in California I would see entire families standing on busy business corners, all holding signs, and asking for money. The difference is that they would all be dressed in their nicest belongings and were hustlers, as if businessmen. The competition for donations among the homeless is very high because the amount of homeless men, women and children runs very high. The families will yell loudly to advertise that they are collecting money, they will make posters advertising past jobs that the adults have had, and they compete to be the “biggest loser.” Those that have lost the most are considered more deserving of rising to the top again and are very aggressive in getting to that point. Not being aware of this custom, I once smiled at a man dressed like a CEO on the corner with his two children and was yelled at and called names because smiles wouldn’t feed his family that night. Homelessness statistics do little to tell the true story of how homelessness effects lives in different areas of even our own country.

  7. About 1.3 million students in the United States were homeless at the start of the 2012-2013 school year. According to recent research, a number of factors contribute to homelessness among children and youth. In surveys of city officials, the most frequently cited reasons for family homelessness are a lack of affordable housing, poverty, and domestic violence; for unaccompanied youth, the chief factors cited are mental illness, substance abuse, and lack of affordable housing. This article discusses childhood homelessness in one state specifically, California. It provided trends of homelessness throughout the state, lists differences by living situations, differences by origin, differences by age, differences by sex, and other data sources supporting the drastic rise in childhood homelessness throughout the recent years.

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