Kids Should be Focused on Homework, Not Working to Find a Home

We can't expect kids to succeed in school when they don't have a home. Here's how to combat student homelessness.

Blog Post (NATIONAL, Washington)

Katara Jordan
July 22, 2015
Kids Should be Focused on Homework, Not Working to Find a Home - Full text on

Tags: Education, Housing: Homelessness

Organizations mentioned/involved: Columbia Legal Services (Washington State)


Brandy became homeless during her sophomore year in high school. She, her mom, and her sister left a home riddled with abuse. Brandy moved more than 15 times – staying in shelters, with friends, friends of friends, and eventually with anyone who would let her sleep on their floor or couch.

Despite these constant shifts, Brandy was able to stay in the same school because of a federal law, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which among other things paved the way for the hiring of two school “homeless liaisons.” These liaisons helped her travel to and from school, made sure she had something to eat during the day, clothes to wear, and encouraged her to aspire and thrive. This law and the support she received in school proved critical to Brandy’s success in high school and later in college.

As a civil legal aid attorney with Columbia Legal Services, I help homeless students and their families address barriers to their enrollment and participation in school. I use a variety of tools such as community education about McKinney-Vento, data and policy analysis, and individual and legislative advocacy.