Students on the Move

May 9th, 2019

Due to a lack of affordable housing, the U.S. has more students experiencing homelessness now than ever before. Our Director David Bley recently spoke with APM Reports for their feature documentary, Students on the Move: Keeping uprooted kids in school, about solutions that help families and keep uprooted kids in school.

From the feature:

Instead of paying to bus homeless kids, David Bley of the Gates Foundation says it would be cheaper — and more humane — to keep families housed. Bley oversees grants aimed at homelessness and education in the Pacific Northwest. He says schools can’t solve the problem of homelessness, but maybe they can make a dent. Some school districts are teaming up with outside groups to create programs that give vulnerable families small amounts of money to keep them from losing their housing and ending up on the streets or in a shelter.

Giving families a little money at just the right time can make all the difference, Bley says. This approach can save money, “and it’s a much more humane way to help people out of a jam.”

At the Gates Foundation, David Bley says he’s seen a number of success stories like this — schools that have actually decreased the number of families who fall into homelessness and schools that have boosted the graduation rates for homeless kids.

“But [we’ve] had a very difficult time systematically spreading those kinds of practices and models across all public schools,” Bley says. “It’s very easy in public education to see a school that looks like a shining example on a hill, because they’re doing the right thing, but it has proven to be very difficult to spread and replicate whatever that secret sauce is across all schools.”

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