Outcome: Children and Youth Feel Connected to Supportive Family/Caregiver

Indicator: Homeless Youth

Significance of this indicator:

The American Psychological Association 2009 Presidential Task Force on Psychology’s Contribution to End Homelessness defined homelessness to exist when people lack safe, stable, and appropriate places to live, including sheltered and unsheltered people, and those in overcrowded and doubled-up situations.  According to the APA, homelessness affects people of all ages, geographic areas, occupations, and ethnicities, but occurs disproportionately among people of color.   Some of the factors that put youth and families more at risk of homelessness are extreme poverty, female-headed households (particularly by women with limited education and job skills), teen parents, lack of affordable housing, and substance abuse or physically violent parents and stepparents.

The outcomes of homelessness can include:

  • Hunger
  • Poor physical and mental health
  • Missed educational opportunities impacting academic achievement, children twice as likely to have a learning disability, repeat a grade, or to be suspended from school. 
  • Exposure to violence, which can cause a number of psychosocial difficulties 
  • Many runaway youth engage in sexually risky behaviors (sometimes for their own survival), which places them at risk of HIV, other STDs, and unintended pregnancies. Also, emerging research has shown that GLBT homeless youth are seven times more likely to be victims of violent crime.

How we are doing on this indicator:

2008/2009 - 2011/2012
Pueblo experienced a 32% increase in the number of homeless youth from the 2008/09 through the 2010/11 school year, but then a 16% decrease between the2010/11 and the 2011/12 school years.  The net change in Pueblo’s homeless youth from the four school-year timeframe resulted in an increase of 10%.  By comparison, Colorado’s homeless youth numbers increased continually during this same timeframe for a 33% increase during the four school years reported.

2012-2013
Both Pueblo and the state of Colorado saw a slight decrease in the number of homeless youth in the 2012/2013 school year. 

2013-2014
Pueblo had the largest decrease in homeless youth in the years 2013-2014.  Colorado as a whole had an increase in this same period of time.
 

What the Data Tell Us

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Definition:  The number of P-12 public school students served by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program during the school year based on Colorado school district submissions.  The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program serves homeless children and youth, defined as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence...;” and includes:

  • sharing housing due to loss of housing or economic hardship (not due to cultural preference or a desire to save money)
  • living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate housing.
  • living in emergency or transitional housing.
  • abandoned in hospitals.
  • awaiting foster care.
  • living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, or bus or train stations.
  • children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations.
  • migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in the circumstances described above.

Data Source:  Colorado Department of Education
Provided by the Colorado Children’s Campaign, Kids Count Data Center.

Data Considerations: Please note that this indicator is derived only from school or school district records.  As such, it does not represent the total number of homeless children and youth in these communities, which would include children who were not enrolled during the year.  Additionally, children and youth in homeless situations are difficult to identify for many reasons.  High mobility, fear or stigmas, and invisibility of populations not living in shelters or accessing other service agencies are examples of reported identification barriers.  While the data above are based on continual district efforts to identify homeless students, identification challenges suggest the actual numbers of homeless students are most likely higher than those reported.