Welcome Center: The Homeless Family and School

Homeless Student Action Center

A Tale of Two Families

Kristin and Samantha wake up in their own bedrooms. Every morning they shower, put on clean clothes and head downstairs. They have a conversation with their parents over breakfast. Mom or Dad makes sure Kristin has a sack lunch before she gets on the bus to her 5th grade classroom and Samantha has the money she needs before driving off to high school.

Jon and David wake up on the floor in their uncle's living room, because their mom got the couch. They put on the same clothes they've already worn once this week from the unwashed pile in the corner. There is no time to shower, since 12 people are waking up at the same time. They leave for school with nothing but undone homework in their backpacks.

Most of the time Jon skips his breakfast at his elementary school since he'd rather play; David doesn't want to be seen in his high school breakfast line with the "losers" so he skips this meal every day.

At the final morning bell, Kristin is sitting next to Jon. Samantha is sitting next to David.

  • Which kids are ready to learn?
  • Which ones are not ready to do much more than go back to sleep?

This happens to over a million kids a day in America.

Homeless girl in elementary school

What I find so heartbreaking is how difficult daily life is for kids from a homeless family...how unfair the situation is from their perspective. They have to work so hard to be even a little bit "normal"...and to have even a slight chance at being successful at school.

I'm not finding blame here; that is not the purpose of this action center. I understand the extreme difficulties of economy-driven job loss, of bad choices that affect others, of all the reasons why Kristen and Samantha and Jon and David end up in a homeless family.

My purpose here is very focused on those homeless children who walk into our classrooms every day...children who need the best chance we can give them to succeed in school.

Teachers Are the Key

We can't change their homeless family situation, but we can help more than most teachers understand.

This action center is for all homeless students, Kindergarten through 12th grade.

And don't think for a moment that kids in high school aren't still "children"...at least a little bit. I've raised two kids and I know: they still need us - a lot - beyond the age of 18.

Teachers can help kids from a homeless family feel "normal" at school. It may only be for six hours a day, but those six hours are the difference between success and failure.

It's time for us to take action. And that's what this center is all about.

Betsy Weigle

Many of the homeless family websites on the internet - while providing great resources - are not specifically for and about teachers. This website is all about you. If you have any additional issues about homeless students you would like for me to explore in greater depth, please don't hesitate to use my contact form to ask.

I'm happy to hear from you!

Homeless Awareness Articles


Building Awareness of Homeless Students Lack of awareness is the biggest driver of homeless family difficulties with school. Far too many of our homeless students don't receive services because: Parents don't realize there are services that can help Teachers don't have awareness that allows … [Read more...]

The Homeless Family & School Articles


Special Issues and Accommodations for Homeless Students "Whose job is it to recognize a child from a homeless family?" The school office manager? The district homeless liaison? The school counselor? The classroom teacher? The answer, of course is "it's everyone's job." But change the … [Read more...]

The Homeless Family & School 101


Teachers Create New Lives for Homeless Students For a child from a homeless family, school is a critical anchor point in life. To homeless students in the most severe circumstances, school may provide: A stable place with caring adults A refuge from neglect Safety from … [Read more...]