In this report, researchers examined the educational outcomes of Houston Independent School District’s (HISD) students who are homeless from 2012-13 to 2016-17, the years immediately preceding Hurricane Harvey. In HISD, the nation’s seventh largest school district, roughly three in 100 students are homeless each year.
Researchers found that, compared to non-homeless students with similar characteristics, homeless students were at elevated risk of a range of adverse educational outcomes. However, the findings also highlight the complexity of the relationship between homelessness and student outcomes.
While homeless students attended fewer days of school and were more likely to drop out than non-homeless students, they had slightly higher levels of achievement on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) and similar rates of disciplinary infractions. In addition, homeless students’ educational outcomes varied depending on who they live with and where they live. Taken together, the findings highlight the importance of practices that are refined and tailored to homeless students’ unique situations and needs.