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Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness

Monday, May 22, 2017

We all know there are things kids aren't telling us. However, for some students, one of those untold things may be a lack of access to proper housing.

The legal definition of homelessness for schools is “lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” There are thousands of students across Wisconsin that may be considered homeless. In fact, our data shows 2 percent of students in our state are homeless according to the legal definition.

It’s hard for a student to graduate if they’re dealing with the physical, emotional, and cognitive impacts of homelessness. Adequate housing is considered a basic need and we recognize that these students need additional supports to ensure they are ready for life beyond high school.

Students and families faced with homelessness are entitled by federal law to receive help. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act provides a homeless liaison at each school district to ensure that school staff understand the definition of homelessness, identify a child that fits this definition, and coordinate action for a child that may be homeless.

Department of Public Instruction (DPI) State Coordinators for the Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) created a video that can be used to train multiple audiences about the supports available for students faced with homelessness.

We have to work together to make it easier for these kids to achieve their next steps: college, career, and beyond.

For more DPI supports and resources, please visit