Separate and Unequal: A report on educational barriers for homeless children and youth

Homeless children and youth are often denied their right to attend public schools, according to this report funded by the W.K. Kellogg and Freddie Mac foundations and the Butler Family Fund. Even though school districts are legally compelled to provide education for homeless children and youth, barriers arise in the areas of residency and guardian requirements, and in a lack of records and transportation. The report is based on a survey of 80 service providers and homeless advocacy organization staffers in 33 states.

The establishment of separate schools for homeless children and youth in communities across the United States as a response to the problem of access is fraught with problems, says the NLCHP. According to the NLCHP report, they are a temporary and inadequate solution to school districts’ failure to comply with the law; their existence violates several provisions of the McKinney Act, which prohibits the isolation and unequal treatment of homeless children and youth; and, in resources and curricula, they are generally “vastly inferior to” regular public schools.

Separate and Unequal, is the sixth report released by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty that examines the impact of homelessness on access to public education. 72 pages. $20.00. 20 percent off for nonprofits with budgets under $100,000. Contact: NLCHP (202) 638-2535. E-mail: and


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