We call these signs and ‘symptoms’ because homelessness affects people in ways that are totally out of their control. From our conversations with many homeless youth, we’ve made a list of things that might signal that a youth is at-risk of or experiencing homelessness. You may be able to help us expand this list and help others because you’ve seen someone go through this, maybe you’ve been through it yourself, or even just by thinking about what it would be like to go through this and what effects it might have on you or your friends.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that everything on here is a for-sure sign that a person is homeless or at-risk. If you have a friend who shows up to your place dressed in the same clothes as they did they day before I’m not immediately going to think they are homeless. However, you might do a little friend duty, just politely check on them if everything is okay. If they stay in those same clothes all month, or if you start noticing other signs from this list then you’d probably get concerned and have a bit more of a deeper conversation with your friend. At the very least you’d let them know that I am there for them, whatever they might be going though.
- skipping classes
- dropping grades
- arriving late
- falling asleep in class
- unable to concentrate in class
- starting fights
- being bullied
- poor hygiene
- wearing the same clothes for several days in a row