To quantify students with disabilities experiencing homelessness in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic US state and district public schools and compare them with those without disabilities.
Data were compiled from state departments of education and federal homelessness data and were merged by using the Local Education Agency identifier. We calculated the proportion of students with and without disabilities experiencing homelessness and corresponding relative risk 95% confidence intervals. We examined changes in homelessness in Massachusetts counties compared with the 2018 to 2019 school year.
Across the 7 states and Washington, DC, 4.7% of students with disabilities experienced homelessness, 58% greater than the percentage of students without disabilities (95% confidence interval 1.57–1.59). The highest proportion of students with disabilities experiencing homelessness was in Washington, DC, and New York, with the lowest proportion in Connecticut. There was little change comparing 2018 to 2019 with 2019 to 2020 statistics in Massachusetts.
Quantifying students with disabilities experiencing homelessness provides policymakers with valuable information to be able to act to better support these students. Variations by state/district and time highlight the need for continued data collection and aggregation.