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Libraries Support Students Experiencing Homelessness

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The following is a guest post.

We all know there are things kids aren't telling us. However, for some kids, one of those untold things may be a lack of access to proper housing. In Wisconsin, more than 18,000 enrolled students are lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate place to call home.

For many students and their families, this means moving from house to house as a guest. Often, they will stay away from their temporary residence for fear of imposing on or risking the eviction of family or friends who are renting the home where they are staying. These families may spend time in public places – such as the local library – in order to alleviate the stressful atmosphere that is created when families feel they are a burden on their hosts.

It’s hard for a student to achieve their potential 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 support and stability to ensure they are ready for life beyond high school. One way your public library can help is by displaying free posters created by the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) which inform students and families of the educational rights and services they qualify for in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

On the Homeless Liaison Directory page, you can find the homeless liaison for your local school district who ensures that school staff understand the definition of homelessness, identifies children who fit this definition, and coordinates action for a child or youth who may be homeless. We encourage you to reach out to your local homeless liaison with questions or concerns you have in your community.

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 https://dpi.wi.gov/homeless.

Written by:
Title 1 and School Support Team Staff
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

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