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The Hidden Problem of Homeless High School Students

Host Myles Bess explores how homeless students get the help they need when different federal agencies use competing definitions to define who’s homeless.

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ABOVE THE NOISE is a show that cuts through the hype and takes a deeper look at the science behind controversial and trending topics in the news. Hosted by Myles Bess and Shirin Ghaffary.

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Student homelessness in the US is a tricky thing to quantify. HUD — the federal government’s Department of Housing and Urban Development — controls most of the money used to help the homeless. But, that agency misses about 4 in 5 homeless students. Why? It’s all about how you define the term “homeless”. According to HUD, you’re only considered homeless if you’re living in a shelter or living on the streets. But according to the Department of Education, about 80% of the 1.3 million homeless students living in the US are couch surfing, living in motels, or doubling up with family or friends. These students aren’t eligible for HUD money, so increasingly, it’s up to schools to provide help.

SOURCES:
What Is the Official Definition of Homelessness?
https://www.nhchc.org/faq/official-definition-homelessness/

How America Counts Its Homeless
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/16/homeless-count-population-america-shelters-people

The Number of Homeless Students Doubles in a Decade
http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/06/13/481279226/as-the-number-of-homeless-students-soars-how-schools-can-serve-them-better

HUD Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress
https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/2016-AHAR-Part-1.pdf

Dept. of Education Federal Data Summary
http://nche.ed.gov/downloads/data-comp-1213-1415.pdf

Homeless Students in America’s Public Schools
http://bento.cdn.pbs.org/hostedbento-prod/filer_public/AmericanGraduate/Downloads/HiddeninPlainSightFullReportFINAL.pdf

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