Educator Survey: K-12 Students Face Housing Challenges While Resources and Supports Remain Elusive

Current economic, educational and societal factors prompted Enterprise Community Partners and The NHP Foundation survey of educators on the connection between housing stability and educational outcomes

COLUMBIA, Md. (December 8, 2020) – Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) and The NHP Foundation (NHPF) today released findings from joint research exploring educators’ perspectives on the intersection of housing and education, revealing that 3 in 4 educators (76%) reported housing-related challenges are somewhat common or very common among their students. At the same time, more than 1 in 3 educators (38%) indicate they do not know how to connect students experiencing housing challenges with necessary supports, including housing, academic assistance, mental health services and others.

The findings are based on a nationally representative survey of 500 educators from across the country. In examining how housing-related challenges—including homelessness, evictions, frequent moves, overcrowded living conditions and poor-quality housing—impact student academic performance, the research also identifies gaps in support for educators and possible solutions for both community development and education professionals.

Key Findings

  • Housing-related challenges among students are widespread: 76% of educators reported housing-related challenges are somewhat common or very common among their students.
    • In Title 1 schools, which serve primarily students from low-income households, 87% of the staff surveyed said that housing challenges are common. In non-Title 1 schools, 65% of staff surveyed indicated housing challenges are common.
  • Educators face barriers to connecting students with housing supports: 38% of educators did not know how to connect students with supports and services.
    • Almost half (44%) of educators indicated they have had no training in identifying and supporting students experiencing housing-related challenges.
    • Educators in Title I schools, despite serving a greater proportion of students experiencing housing challenges, are less likely to know how to connect a student to supports and services than their peers in non-Title I schools.
  • Covid-19 has had an undeniable impact: 95% of the educators surveyed agree that Covid-19 has exacerbated the impact of pre-existing housing-related challenges. The top three areas most negatively impacted by housing-related challenges are students’ attendance, mental health and social-emotional skills.

Enterprise and NHPF believe that in order to better anticipate the needs of students, schools should create proactive plans to support students experiencing housing-related challenges. These plans should leverage resources both inside and outside the classroom, from tutoring to mental health services to physical health activities.

Schools must also offer training for educators to break down barriers to connecting students with supports. Housing and service providers should work collaboratively with schools to develop formal service provider partnerships so schools can more easily connect students and their families with the assistance they need.

“The ripple effects of unstable housing can change the trajectory of a child’s life, which is why it is so critical to identify and address these challenges as quickly as possible,” said Stephany De Scisciolo, VP of Knowledge, Impact & Strategy, Enterprise. “The Covid-19 pandemic has threatened the stability of both home and school for millions of families. Students of color and those from low-income households are disproportionately impacted. Without immediate action to implement long-term solutions, we are putting our children and their children at risk.”

“While all of the above recommendations must be enacted to eliminate impediments to academic, financial and social mobility, none will truly provide opportunity without the provision of more affordable housing,” said Richard F. Burns, President & CEO, NHPF. “Strengthening today’s most proficient tool to sustain affordable housing creation, LIHTC (Low Income Housing Tax Credit) is key to that.”

Enterprise and NHPF are collaborating on a forthcoming report based on the survey findings that will highlight trends and share recommendations on how schools, communities, housing providers, government and nonprofits can work together to address housing challenges that impact educational outcomes.

About the survey
The educators surveyed were spread out across the country and worked in urban, suburban and rural schools serving students from kindergarten through grade 12. They represent traditional public schools, charter schools and full-service community schools. Half of the educators work in Title I schools, in which 40 percent of the students come from low-income households.

About Enterprise
Enterprise is a national nonprofit on a mission to make home and community places of pride, power and belonging for all. To make that possible, we operate the only organization designed to address America’s affordable housing crisis from every angle: we develop and deploy programs and support community organizations on the ground; we advocate for policy on a nonpartisan basis at every level of government; we invest capital to build and preserve rental homes people can afford; and we own, operate and provide resident services for affordable communities. All so that people not only make rent, they build futures. With this end-to-end approach, 40 years of experience and thousands of local partners, Enterprise has built and preserved 662,000 affordable homes, invested $53 billion in communities and changed millions of lives.

About The NHP Foundation
Headquartered in New York City with offices in Washington, DC, and Chicago, IL, The NHP Foundation (NHPF) was launched on January 30, 1989, as a publicly supported 501(c)(3) not-for-profit real estate corporation. NHPF is dedicated to preserving and creating sustainable, service-enriched multifamily housing, and scattered-site communities that are both affordable to low and moderate income families and seniors, and beneficial to their communities. Through Family-Centered Coaching, NHPF’s subsidiary Operation Pathways engages with, and assists, families experiencing poverty and other hardship, to problem-solve together. Through partnerships with major financial institutions, the public sector, faith-based initiatives, and other not-for-profit organizations, NHPF has 57 properties, including 9,664 units, in 15 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, please visit www.nhpfoundation.org.

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