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Educational Materials

Use these materials with your families, faith communities and in classroom settings to teach kids about homelessness.

There are links to resources on this page and also a packet you can download with additional tools.

Download the Packet

All the information below is included and there are also interactive exercises for kids to reflect on what they are learning

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Book Links

For Kids Who Prefer Crayons

On Our Street: A First Talk about Poverty

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Still a Family

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Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen

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Maddi's Fridge

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I May Not Have a Home But I Have Rights

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June Peters: You Will Change the World One Day

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Ideas for how young people can take action to address hunger and homelessness

Additional Reading

Picture Books (ages 5 -8)

Teen (ages 12-15)

Teen + adult fiction (ages 15 +)

Rose Reads

Listen to our volunteer Rose read Still a Family by Brenda Reeves Sturgis

Reflection

“I WONDER QUESTIONS”
A Tool for Initiating Conversation with Children about Homelessness

As you read some of these children’s books featuring stories about homelessness, encourage your young readers to “wonder:” to formulate questions that help them go more deeply into this inquiry into homelessness and relate what they are reading and learning to their own lives.

 

You can ask your young readers to write down questions that start with “I wonder” as they are reading.  Or if you are reading a with a group, you could collect “I wonder” questions at the end and then utilize these “I wonder” questions in group discussions.  

 

Remember that not every question will have an immediate answer, and that is alright.  The goal of “I wonder” questions is to foster inquiry, critical thinking and empathy.

 

Some I wonder questions to get you going:

I WONDER:

  • if I have a classmate/friend that’s homeless?

  • if someone sleeps in their car, are they considered homeless? how does one become homeless?

  • how would I feel if I was homeless?

  • what do they think about?

  • what would they wish for?

  • how does a homeless kid go to school?

  • how do they complete their homework or study?

  • do kids get bullied more if they’re homeless?

  • have I ever bullied or helped someone who is homeless?

  • how could I make a homeless kids/person life better?

  • do they have any pets and how do they care for them?

  • are they afraid?

  • I wonder...

Interactive Resources

For Kids Who Prefer TikTok

Watch and Reflect

View the eight-minute video “The Hidden Homelessness Crisis in California” about a mother and daughter who sleep in their vehicle.

 

Use the discussion questions below to deepen your understanding of youth and family homelessness.

Reflection Questions

  • What are some stereotypes or preconceived notions we as a society have about people experiencing homelessness? Do Danielle and her daughter fit those stereotypes? Why or why not?

  • What services or utilities does Danielle need access to? How does she provide these for her and her daughter? What are some challenges to accessing necessities for people experiencing homelessness?

  • How is the cost of living directly tied to the cycle of homelessness?

  • Why are safe parking lots important for people experiencing homelessness that live in their cars? How might these programs help people?

  • What do you know about affordable housing? How does a lack of affordable housing lead to higher numbers of people who are unhoused? How is safe parking an alternative? Is it a perfect alternative? Why or why not?

  • This video was made two years ago. In the context of COVID 19, how might some of the challenges in accessing necessities increase or decrease for people experiencing homelessness?

  • What homeless services do you know of in your community that can assist people like Danielle and her daughter? What services might need to be extended or expanded?

Explore the Data

Each year the LA Homeless Services Authority, with the help of thousands of volunteers, conducts a count of unhoused persons living in area shelters, on the streets and in vehicles. 

Explore the data. Then, use the study questions in the packet to deepen your understanding of the diversity in homelessness.

Reflection Questions

  • What percentage of people experiencing homelessness are reported to have a substance abuse disorder? A serious mental illness? Physical disability? What does this suggest about our society’s ability to support people with mental or physical illnesses? What programs might be useful to help persons experiencing homelessness who have disabilities or illnesses?

  • What is the largest age group of people experiencing homelessness in the San Fernando Valley? What is the second highest? What might make these two age groups particularly vulnerable to experiencing homelessness?

  • African-Americans make up only approx. 5% of the population in the SFV. They are greatly overrepresented (22%) in the SFV’s homeless count while white people are underrepresented in the homeless population. Why might this be? What are some systemic barriers that may lead to this?

  • What percentage of the homeless population is chronically homeless? What might be some barriers for those who are chronically homeless to becoming housed?

  • What % of the homeless population over 18 years old has experienced domestic violence? What services might be important to assist those experiencing violence on the streets or in their homes?

Further Reading

Books and materials on homelessness recommended by our lead homeless services agency, LA Family Housing

Download the Packet

All the information here is included and there are also interactive exercises for kids to reflect on what they are learning

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