Author Information

Diana DeMont


This project addresses the challenges confronting children living in Massachusetts homeless shelters, with particular attention to these youths’ education as well as the services that family shelters provide to support their academic achievement. With 1.35 million homeless children living in the United States each year (“How Many People Experience Homelessness?”, 2009), it is imperative that this population receives a quality education. Homelessness can result in academic disadvantage for many children, who benefit from a strong collaboration between the school system and a well-equipped shelter to meet their unique educational needs. This qualitative study involved interviews with ten shelter employees across Massachusetts. Analysis of the data indicated that the areas of greatest concern are the quality of parental involvement with the child, securing before and after school care, and accessing transportation. Many of the respondents noted that the availability of funding and staffing determined the shelters’ ability to adequately address these concerns. Policy-makers interested in resource allocation, homelessness advocates, and those who can offer volunteer services could utilize these findings.

Note on the Author

Diana DeMont is a senior majoring in Social Work with a minor in Spanish. Her project was completed in the summer of 2011 under the mentorship of Dr. Lucinda King-Frode from the Social Work Department and was made possible through funding from an Adrian Tinsley Program summer research grant. This project was presented at the 2012 National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

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