I was a homeless high school student. America’s laws don’t do enough to help kids like me.
My younger siblings and I received free transportation to our school. Not all homeless students, however, are so lucky. Individual districts are allowed to decide what kind of transportation assistance they will offer homeless children — and because transportation is expensive, and the cost is not fully covered by McKinney-Vento subgrants, they “have an inherent disincentive” to provide these services, according to a report from the Urban Institute. Even worse, as the report said, the same financial concerns give schools a disincentive to identify homeless students at all. Many children fall through the cracks. A recent University of Michiganreport notes that before covid-19 closed most classrooms, U.S. schools were failing to identify about 1 million homeless children and youth. Now, “due to distance learning/school building closure” during the pandemic, “as many as 1.4 million homeless K-12 children may be unidentified and unsupported by their schools.”