The number of K-12 students experiencing homelessness continues to increase across the country. Despite recognition that schools may serve as sources of support and stability for homeless children, little existing research has examined the types of schools homeless students attend and the communities they live in. We fill this gap by analyzing a student-level administrative panel from the Los Angeles Unified School District and publicly available data from the 2008-09 to 2016-17 school years. Our findings suggest that homeless students tend to be clustered within lower achieving schools with higher concentrations of educationally disadvantaged student groups and live in neighborhoods with higher concentrated disadvantage. Despite policy provisions to ensure stability, homeless students have high rates of school and neighborhood mobility in years they are homeless; although mobile students move to less disadvantaged schools. We conclude with policy implications to strengthen the implementation of the federal McKinney-Vento Act.
Putting Homelessness in Context: The Schools and Neighborhoods of Students Experiencing Homelessness
University of Southern California