“If I Don’t Fight for It, I Have Nothing”: Supporting Students Who Experience Homelessness While Enrolled in Higher Education
College and university students who are homeless are a population not well known inside or outside of higher education environments. These students have complex experiences as they progress toward graduation, and they are often undetected and unsupported in college environments. Social workers on and off campus can seek to support students in higher education. Social workers employed on college campuses have many opportunities to inform staff, faculty, and administrators about this largely hidden population. Specifically, linkages between students and existing support services are needed. Further, social workers employed on campus can take part in the development, implementation, and evaluation of services and support to mitigate and eliminate barriers to accessing existing supports. Outside of higher education environments, housing and support services delivered by community-based agencies provide students with critical resources, such as housing, case management, employment and academic services, and social supports. However, students also need support to navigate higher education and social services. This chapter will explore how social workers can and do support students attending colleges or universities while homeless.
KeywordsHigher education College Homelessness Students Youth Justice McKinney-Vento Act Public school College campus Definition Age Housing Housing insecure Every Student Succeeds Act Higher Education Opportunity Act College Cost Reduction and Access Act State-level policies Goals Identity Stigma Economic stability Shelter Stress Self-sufficient Staff Faculty Administrators Mission drift Advisory board Services Financial aid Collaboration Community-based agencies Education specialist Benefits
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