For the student homeless in America, the summer months will be critical and perilous. From 2011-16, the overall student homeless population in the United States rose 19 percent, to nearly 1.3 million. In 2016, the number of unaccompanied homeless youth reached 100,000 for the first time ever. If you talk to a homelessness expert, he or she will likely say the actual number of students in that category is more than any official number. That's because homeless students take great pains to hide their situation.
Now, with school out indefinitely during the coronavirus crisis, the race is on to find these "Hidden Homeless" and help them. Every place of shelter brings risk, and every day is a delicate and sometimes dangerous challenge to find stability and safety. Some homeless students will have to figure out how to keep learning without online access or a quiet place to go. Others will be the main breadwinners in their families. And all of them will be at new risk for scholastic failure: one of the main causes of academic delay is absence from class.
How do you keep a safe distance when you have no control over your living situation? How do you stay home when there's no reliable home in which to stay?