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Challenges Facing Service Providers in Educating Homeless Students

Beck, Pamela Ann
This study was a qualitative, phenomenological inquiry into challenges experienced by service providers in educating homeless children. This study was conducted through semi-structured interviews with five service providers for homeless families in the United States. The goal of this study was to understand how service providers support homeless students and their families as well as the challenges these service providers experience and what they perceive that teachers of homeless students should know about educating homeless students. Findings and Conclusions: This study found that many structural, economic, and interpersonal barriers exist in working with the homeless. The categories of barriers for the homeless, common characteristics in the homeless, and the role of the educational system were discussed as important to the study. The themes that emerged were ones of the persistence of poverty and homelessness, perceptions of the homeless, the trauma-informed approach, and the lack of time. These categories and themes best represent the experiences of the participants in the study. The implications of this study include the implementation of programs to make more caregivers including teachers aware of the challenges and mandates that apply to homeless students and policies to make the homeless more aware of the services available to them.