Building Philanthropy to Build a Better Florida

REPORT: Homeless students in Florida trail their housed peers in attendance, academic and disciplinary indicators

November 16, 2017

Report explores effects of homelessness in Florida schools
Homeless students in Florida trail their housed peers in attendance, academic and disciplinary indicators

TAMPA, Fla. – The number of homeless students identified in Tampa Bay has nearly doubled over the past decade, according to a new report on the effects of homelessness on students’ education. The report, Homelessness and Education in Florida: Impacts on Children and Youth, is co-authored by the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies at the University of Florida and Miami Homes for All. 

Commissioned by JPMorgan Chase & Co., the report explores the impacts of homelessness and housing instability on the education of children and youth in Florida by focusing on students’ experiences. The findings are based on student data provided by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) and phone interviews with school district staff serving as homelessness education liaisons in 29 counties throughout Florida.

In Hillsborough County, the report found, approximately one third of grade 6-12 students are in need of reading interventions, with over half of homeless students requiring intervention. The county is working to eliminate barriers that prevent homeless students from access to public education by creating a social services team.

"I am proud that Hillsborough County Public Schools has a HELP Students In Transition Team supporting students and families by eliminating barriers to school enrollment, attendance and academics.  The team works closely with school staff to identify the students' academic needs and assure interventions are implemented at the school level.  The two school counselors assigned to the team academically consult with each high school student to assure they are on track for graduation. Ten tutors are also assigned to tutor students with the greatest needs to increase their proficiency in their identified areas of focus," said Superintendent Jeff Eakins, Hillsborough County Public Schools.

During the 2015-2016 school year, 9,439 students experienced homelessness in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, according to the report. This is up from 4,778 students identified in the 2007-2008 school year. These students lived doubled up with friends and family members, in hotels and motels, in transitional housing, or in cars and on the street. Homeless students struggle academically in comparison to students with stable housing, including housed low-income students, the report found.

The report also includes policy recommendations based on the report findings and best practices from across the country, including recommendations to increase the affordable housing supply, address employment and education and developing alternative housing options for unaccompanied homeless youth.

Tampa Bay’s philanthropic and nonprofit sectors will gather for an overview of the report, policy recommendations and key findings at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 17 at the Nonprofit Leadership Center, 1401 N Westshore Blvd., Suite 101. Program details are available at  

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 16, 2017
CONTACT: Stephanie Gocklin, Director of Communications
Florida Philanthropic Network