The number of homeless public school students has hit a record high in recent years, and unstable living conditions are putting their lives at risk, reports The Huffington Post.
The report, “More Than a Place to Sleep,” examined the effects of homelessness on teenagers—and found that homeless high school students are more likely than their housed peers to attempt suicide, experience intimate partner violence, and suffer from preventable but serious health issues.
Of the 5,762 New York City students surveyed who answered questions about housing, 712 reported experiencing a degree of homelessness. That could mean living in a shelter, crashing somewhere temporarily, or residing in someone else’s home. The risks they face are “cause for alarm,” the authors of the report noted.
Homeless teens are three times more likely to attempt suicide than housed teens, at 20 percent versus 6 percent. They’re also three times more likely to have been hurt by someone they were dating.
Another problem they face is not getting adequate nutrition and sleep—the basic building blocks for development. Over a period of a week, 33 percent of students said they went without breakfast. Homeless teens are more than twice as likely as housed students to go to school hungry. And getting fewer hours of sleep puts them at risk for obesity, diabetes, developing mental health issues, and substance abuse problems, among other conditions.