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Research: The impact of homelessness on a child's education

By: McCallum, A; Rich, H
Published: November 2020

Research: The impact of homelessness on a child's education

Government data shows that the number of children that are homeless and the number that are placed in temporary accommodation is on the rise. Yet the literature shows homelessness can have a catastrophic effect on a child's educational attainment.

This research report from Shelter shows how problematic this acceptance of homelessness among children of school age is. Our survey with teachers all across Britain shows that the impacts of homelessness on children is not hidden or hard to spot at all.

Our evidence shows that the challenges faced by homeless children are significant and frequently observed by teachers all across the country. For the affected child, homelessness is a tragic loss of childhood and a huge barrier to achieving academically. The disruptions caused go on to affect peers and teachers alike, meaning the impacts are many and long-lasting.

Governments have chosen to accept homelessness among children, assuming the private market will provide adequate housing for low-income households. However, accepting poor outcomes for children now is short-sighted, as it is likely to cause damage to the future prospects of all affected.