Homelessness During High School Hampers Students

For teens living on the edge of homelessness, it’s tough to cope with high school. Since 1 in 45 children experience homelessness each year, there are many trying to make it through. Multiple moves with their families from shelters or situations where they are doubled up (living with friends, family or nonrelatives for economic reasons) often make it impossible for a teen to even get to school. While districts are required to allow students without a permanent address to continue attending their school of origin, out of district moves are common. As high school classes march on, teens who aren’t in them (because they are caring for siblings or working to help support their families) get left behind. And, with the stress and emotional hazards that accompany homelessness, these teens may act out and even be expelled from high school.

That’s why programs like the Seattle Urban Academy concentrate on helping these teens finish high school. When students change schools credits don’t match up and, for anyone fighting homelessness, finishing those lost credits can seem like an insurmountable task on top of all the others. These teens need to have teachers who work with them one-on-one to fill the holes in their knowledge and support them while they learn and advance. SUA  works to reconcile the 1-7 year gaps in academic competencies of their students. Long term instability with families in crisis can mean these students need special support to reach healthy social and emotional development while at school. They need to feel supported and loved. The academy does all that:

  • 95% of SUA seniors graduate

  • 91% of SUA graduates go onto higher education or sustained employment

  • 65% of SUA students are employed, vs. 25% Washington state youth

  • 80% of SUA graduates who enter 4-year universities complete degrees, vs. the national statistic of 10% low income students.

 As their website explains:

SUA delivers academic intensive care with rigorous academic standards and practices to equip students to graduate prepared for higher education. SUA is committed to student-centered development focused on socio-emotional, spiritual, academic, and career growth. SUA is committed to graduating whole and healthy young men and women with the academic mastery to further their education at a higher level and secure meaningful employment.  

Survive the Streets is crowdfunding to support the tuition of three young women who want to continue attending the Seattle Urban Academy. You can direct a donation to help Essence, Deveyona, or Daishanique continue to learn and grow.

Patti Dunn founded Survive the Streets in Seattle to help solve homelessness. The Seattle Urban Academy  provides a formalized high school education for youth at risk.


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