Against the Odds
Latte Harris is a teen from Vancouver, Washington who recently wrote a blog for HomeRoom, the Department of Education’s blog. Latte provided important insights about what it's like to experience homelessness while trying to achieve her educational goals.
She said, “Have you wondered what being homeless is like? Being homeless is like driving a car with three wheels. You don’t have all the tools you need to succeed. While other cars zip past you, hope begins to dissipate with every passing mile. It is like living two different lives. At school, I was stressed about how to hide my homelessness and, when I wasn’t at school, I was stressed about how to satisfy at least my immediate needs”
Latte overcame tremendous obstacles and was able to graduate high school and become the first person in her family to attend college. Latte is more the exception than the rule as students who are homeless drop out at a much higher rate than students with stable homes. The Department of Education explains one challenge of being homeless while attending school stating, “Homeless students experience greater school mobility than their non-homeless peers. School mobility can cause interruptions to a child’s education and is associated with lower school achievement and increased risk of dropping out of school.”
Getting a good education is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty that many homeless students grow up in but homelessness in and of itself prevents many students from being successful in school. It’s a cycle that many students can’t break, and then pass down to the future generations. Families Together’s core model is designed to move families with children from homelessness to stable homes as quickly as possible. By doing so, we reduce the likelihood of student absenteeism and increase the chances of academic achievement. Ultimately we work to break the cycle of homelessness, build family cohesion, and give children the opportunity to thrive.