Student Homelessness, COVID-19, and Their Social-Emotional Strengths and Needs: A Case Study

Proceedings of The 4th International Conference on Applied Research in Education

Year: 2022



Student Homelessness, COVID-19, and Their Social-Emotional Strengths and Needs: A Case Study

Mark Pierce, Celestina Rogers



HUD predicts a 600% increase in homelessness following the COVID-19 crisis. Research indicates that student high mobility can create stress and trauma, disrupting learning and dismantling relationships with peers, teachers, and mentors. Students who experience homelessness and high mobility (HHM) are faced with traumatic events that negatively impact their mental well-being and their academic performance. In addition, experts predict that coupled with long hours at home during quarantine, students are returning to school having experienced great losses, deaths in their family, broken connections with peers and adults, and other adverse experiences.  My research found that districts in the Midcities area were unprepared for the switch to distance learning and lacked the training to deal with the social and emotional needs of children. Now that school is returning to 100% in-person learning in the Midcities area, teachers are coping with students exhibiting symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). COVID illuminated how unprepared these teachers were to deal with the stress and trauma of the crisis. Now teachers are being expected to bring education back to “business as usual” and prepping for state test mastery while dealing with students exhibiting symptoms of trauma, including students openly memorializing dead loved ones in jewelry and in their writing. Life as we knew it may never return to normal. Trauma incurred by students during the last two years, if not directly addressed, will lead to a problematic future for these children and the communities they live in. Now is the time to consider universalizing SEL skills at schools throughout the country.

keywords: homelessness, highly mobile, McKinney Vento, Social and Emotional Skills, Trauma Informed Care, COVID-19.