Common Signs of Homelessness
Following are common signs of youth homelessness. This list offers general guidance. There is significant variability within this population. Individual students may differ from the following general characteristics. Stereotypes of homelessness do not match the reality of most young people who have lost their homes. The circumstances surrounding each youth's homelessness will be unique. This fact sheet was taken from College Access and Success for Students Experiencing Homelessness, available in its entirety at http://www.naehcy.org/educational-resources/he-toolkit.
Lack of Continuity in EducationAttendance at many different high schools or institutions of higher education
Difficulties in SchoolFrequent absences from class
Consistent lack of preparation for class
Lack of supplies needed to complete class assignments
Loss of books and other supplies on a regular basis
Paperwork and Documentation ChallengesLack of records normally needed for school enrollment
Difficulty completing the FAFSA
Inability to get a parent or guardian signature
Lack of access to parental financial information
Social and Behavioral ConcernsA marked change in behavior
Poor/short attention span
Resistance to forming relationships with teachers/professors and classmates
Difficulty trusting people
Displays of aggression
"Old beyond years"
Poor Health/NutritionLack of immunization or health records
Unmet medical and dental needs
Chronic hunger and fatigue
Poor HygieneLack of consistent access to shower and laundry facilities
Wearing the same clothes repeatedly
Lack of Support System (unaccompanied homeless youth)Strained or severed relationship(s) with parent(s)
Lack of supportive relationship(s) with caring, responsible adult(s)
Statements by Student"I have been moving around a lot."
"I'm staying with friends for a while."
"I'm going through a difficult time."