Download & Other Tools
- Definition: Number of public school enrollees who were recorded as being homeless at any point during the school year.Percentage of public school enrollees who were recorded as being homeless at any point during the school year.
- Data Source: Special Tabulation by the Homeless Education Program in the School Turnaround Office at the California Department of Education (Apr. 2014); California Dept. of Education, California Basic Educational Data System (CBEDS), DataQuest (Apr. 2014).
- Footnote: Students are designated as homeless if their primary nighttime residence is: a shelter, hotel or motel; shared housing with others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason; or no shelter. These data are duplicated counts of homeless students. As homeless students frequently move from district to district, it is possible that the same student will be reported by multiple districts. Years presented are the final year of a school year (e.g., 2012-2013 is shown as 2013). LNE (Low Number Event) refers to data that have been suppressed because there were fewer than 20 homeless students. N/A means that data are not available. Please note: Percentages for County Offices of Education are less reliable than percentages for other school districts due to fluctuation in official enrollment.
- Measures of Homelessness on Kidsdata.org
Kidsdata.org presents the number and percentage of public school enrollees (ages 3-21) who were recorded as being homeless at any time in the school year. These data are provided by grade level and nighttime residence at the state, county, and school district levels. The number of homeless public school students in each state legislative district also is available, provided by the California Homeless Youth Project at the California Research Bureau.
Data come from the Homeless Education Program in the School Turnaround Office at the California Department of Education and are based on the McKinney-Vento Act definition, which includes students whose primary nighttime residence is a shelter, hotel, or motel; who are sharing housing with others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; or who are unsheltered.When analyzing these data, please note:
Please visit the Homeless Education Program in the School Turnaround Office at the California Department of Education for more information.
- Enrolled is defined as attending classes and participating fully in school activities.
- Data on nighttime residence represents the most recently reported living situation.
- These data are duplicated counts of homeless students. As homeless students frequently move from district to district, it is possible that the same student will be reported by multiple districts.
- These data also could underrepresent the extent of homelessness among public school students because of the sensitivity around the issue. Parents/guardians may not want to report homelessness to school staff, and school staff may have a difficult time gathering and reporting this information. In addition, homeless youth (particularly those who are older) may not self-identify for fear of contact with law enforcement or child protective services, and/or fear of reunification with parents/guardians.
- Births to Unmarried Women (California & U.S. Only)
- Child Population
- Children in Rural and Urban Areas (California & U.S. Only)
- Public School Enrollment
- Total Population
- Family Income and Poverty
- Self-Sufficiency Standard
- Children in Poverty - Supplemental Poverty Measure (State & U.S. Only)
- Children in Poverty (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Children in Poverty (Regions of 20,000 Residents or More)
- Children in Poverty (Regions of 10,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living Above and Below the Poverty Level (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More), by Income Level
- Children Living Above and Below the Poverty Level (Regions of 20,000 Residents or More), by Income Level
- Children Living Above and Below the Poverty Level (Regions of 10,000 Residents or More), by Income Level
- Children Living in Areas of Concentrated Poverty
- Median Family Income (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Median Family Income (Regions of 20,000 Residents or More)
- Median Family Income (Regions of 10,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living in Low-Income Working Families (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living in Low-Income Working Families (Regions of 20,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living in Low-Income Working Families (Regions of 10,000 Residents or More)
- CalWORKs Recipients
- Food Security
- Dating and Domestic Violence
- Disconnected Youth
- Housing Affordability
- Fair Market Rent, by Unit Size
- Households with a High Housing Cost Burden, by City, School District and County (65,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living in Crowded Households, by County (65,000 Residents or More)
- Children Drinking One or More Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Per Day
- Children Who Ate Fast Food Two or More Times in the Past Week, by Age Group
- Children Who Eat Five or More Servings of Fruits/Vegetables Daily, by Age Group
- Students Who Ate Breakfast in Past Day (Student Reported), by Grade Level
- Why This Topic Is Important
Homelessness causes severe trauma to children, disrupting their relationships, putting their health and safety at risk, and hampering their development (1, 2). Homeless children are more likely than other children to have physical and mental health problems, to experience hunger, and to have educational problems (1, 2). Many of these children and youth experience deep poverty, instability and exposure to domestic violence before becoming homeless, and homelessness increases their vulnerability to additional trauma (1, 2). In addition to the risks faced by homeless children, youth without homes are far more likely than their peers to be infected with HIV (3) and have other serious health problems (2).
According to data from the National Center for Homelessness Education, more than 1 million children in the U.S. public school system are homeless. California, alone, accounted for just over one-fifth of all homeless public schools students in the nation in recent years, the largest share of any state (4).
Sources for this narrative:
1. National Center on Family Homelessness. (2011). America’s youngest outcasts 2010: State report card on child homelessness. Retrieved from: http://www.homelesschildrenamerica.org/reportcard.php4. National Center for Homeless Education. (2014). National overview: Consolidated state performance report. National Center for Homeless Education. Retrieved from: http://nchespp.serve.org/profile/National
2. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2013). Providing care for children and adolescents facing homelessness and housing insecurity. Pediatrics, 131(6), pp. 1206-1210. Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/05/22/peds.2013-0645.abstract
3. California Homeless Youth Project. (2014). HIV & youth homelessness: Housing as health care. Retrieved from: http://cahomelessyouth.library.ca.gov/docs/pdf/HIV&YouthHomelessnessFINAL.pdf
- How Children Are Faring
In 2013, 269,663 California public school students, 4.3% of all public school students, were reported to be homeless at any time during the school year. This percentage is up from the 2010-2011 school year, when 3.6% of public school students were reported to be homeless.
More than half of all homeless public school students in California were enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5 (52%) in 2013, while 21% were in grades 6-8 and 27% in grades 9-12. 'Doubling up' with others for nighttime residence was the most common living situation among homeless public school students (86% in 2013).
- Policy Implications
Student and family homelessness is often associated with extreme poverty, lack of access to affordable housing, weak social networks, and domestic violence, among other issues (1). Policies to address homelessness can operate at three levels: preventing families from becoming homeless in the first place; intervening early during a first spell of homelessness to return the family to housing; and ending long-term homelessness.
According to research and subject experts, policy and program options that could address family homelessness include:
- Unifying assessment practices across county and community-based agencies to identify families at risk of homelessness; providing coordinated housing programs that offer case management and supportive services; offering housing subsidies or cash assistance for mortgage/rent, which can help families either stay in their homes or gain stable housing; and facilitating eviction prevention through housing courts and landlord-tenant mediation (1, 2)
- Providing employment and vocational training to parents to help them earn income, and providing comprehensive support to the whole family, e.g. children’s services, parenting programs, mental health, trauma and substance abuse services, domestic violence services, case management, and/or other needed support (1, 3, 4)
- Effectively implementing the federal McKinney-Vento Act, which requires removing barriers that prevent homeless children from receiving a quality education, such as providing transportation to the child’s school of origin (their “home” school) and waiving documentation requirements for school enrollment; also, ensuring adequate school staffing and training to comply with the law (4, 5, 6)
- Explicitly addressing the needs of homeless students in Local Control and Accountability Plans, which determine public school activities to support disadvantaged students (6)
- Combating homelessness among unaccompanied youth by providing individualized service planning, ongoing support services, independent living skills training, connections to trustworthy and supportive adults and networks, and employment and education support (4, 7)
- Providing support to homeless youth to safeguard against, and eliminate, the sexual exploitation of youth, where homeless youth are particularly vulnerable (8)
For more policy ideas on youth and family homelessness, see kidsdata.org's Research & Links section, the California Homeless Youth Project, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, or the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. Also see Policy Implications under the following topics on kidsdata.org: Family Income & Poverty, Housing Affordability, and Dating & Domestic Violence.
Sources for this narrative:
1. U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. (2010). Federal strategic plan supplemental document: Homelessness among families with children. Retrieved from: http://www.usich.gov/resources/uploads/asset_library/BkgrdPap_FamiliesWithChildren.pdf
2. Corporation for Supportive Housing. (2011). Approaches for ending chronic homelessness in California through a coordinated supportive housing program. Retrieved from: http://www.csh.org/resources/approaches-for-ending-chronic-homelessness-in-california-through-a-coordinated-supportive-housing-program/
3. National Center on Family Homelessness. (n.d.). Basic principles of care for families and children experiencing homelessness. Retrieved from: http://www.familyhomelessness.org/media/218.pdf
4. Hyatt, S. (2013). More than a roof: How California can end youth homelessness. Sacramento, CA: California Homeless Youth Project. Retrieved from: http://cahomelessyouth.library.ca.gov/docs/pdf/More-Than-a-Roof-FINAL.pdf
5. National Center on Family Homelessness. (2011). America’s youngest outcasts 2010: State report card on child homelessness. Retrieved from: http://www.homelesschildrenamerica.org/reportcard.php
6. Hyatt, S., Walzer, B., & Julianelle, P. (2014). California’s homeless students: A growing population. California Homeless Youth Project. Retrieved from: http://cahomelessyouth.library.ca.gov/docs/pdf/CaliforniasHomelessStudents_AGrowingPopulation.pdf
7. U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. (2014). Opening doors: Federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. Retrieved from: http://usich.gov/opening_doors/annual-update-2013/
8. Walker, K. (2013). Ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children: A call for multi-system collaboration in California. California Child Welfare Council. Retrieved from: http://www.youthlaw.org/fileadmin/ncyl/youthlaw/publications/Ending-CSEC-A-Call-for-Multi-System_Collaboration-in-CA.pdf
- Websites with Related Information
- California Homeless Youth Project, California State Library, California Research Bureau, State of California
- California Youth Crisis Line (CYCL)
- Forty to None Project
- National Alliance to End Homelessness
- National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)
- National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)
- National Center on Family Homelessness, American Institutes for Research
- National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
- National Network for Youth (NN4Y)
- United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
- Key Reports
- California's Future, 2/2015, Public Policy Institute of California
- California's Homeless Students: A Growing Population, 9/2014, California Homeless Youth Project, Hyatt, S., et al.
- Early Care and Education for Young Children Experiencing Homelessness, 2013, National Center for Homeless Education
- Education for Homeless Children and Youth: Consolidated State Performance Report Data, School Years 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13, 9/2014, National Center for Homeless Education
- Hidden in Plain Sight: An Assessment of Youth Inclusion in Point-in-Time Counts of California’s Unsheltered Homeless Population, 4/2013, California Homeless Youth Project, Auerswald, C., et al.
- In Focus: Using Housing to Improve Health and Reduce the Costs of Caring for the Homeless, 10/2014, The Commomwealth Fund, Hostetter, M., & Klein, S.
- More Than a Roof: How California Can End Youth Homelessness, 1/2013, California Homeless Youth Project, Hyatt, S.
- Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, 4/2014, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
- Providing Care for Children and Adolescents Facing Homelessness and Housing Insecurity, 6/2013, American Academy of Pediatrics
- Reviewing State Housing Policy with a Child-Centered Lens: Opportunities for Engagement and Intervention, 5/2013, Center for Housing Policy, Lubell, J.
- Struggling to Survive: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning Homeless Youth on the Streets of California, 3/2011, California Homeless Youth Project, Hyatt, S.
- The State of Homelessness in America, 2014, National Alliance to End Homelessness
- There’s No Place Like Home: State Laws That Protect Housing Rights for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence, 10/2012, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
- When the Bough Breaks: The Effects of Homelessness on Young Children, 2/2012, Child Trends, McCoy-Roth, M., et al.
- Youth Homelessness in America: The Current Status and the Way Forward, 3/2014, National Network for Youth
- County/Regional Reports
- More Data Sources For Homelessness