More than 2,600 students in school districts throughout San Mateo County experienced housing instability over a recent three-year period, according to a Stanford study. Some 58% of those students were attending Ravenswood City School District schools.
Despite being one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, San Mateo County had significant rates of homelessness and precarious housing, particularly among Latino, Black and English language learning students, according to the April study conducted by the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities.
The researchers, who looked at the demographics of K-12 students experiencing housing insecurity in 22 districts countywide, discovered clusters of housing insecure students in certain areas, with the greatest numbers in the San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District and East Palo Alto's Ravenswood. Sequoia Union High School District, whose student body makes up almost 10% of the county's total, had 1.1%, or 117 students, experiencing housing instability from 2016-19, the seventh highest of all studied districts.
In the Redwood City and Belmont-Redwood Shores school districts, 0.33% (35 individuals) and 0.16% (9 individuals), respectively, of their student population were homeless or housing unstable over the same time period. Just over 6% of the students experiencing housing instability in the county attended Sequoia Union High, Redwood City or Belmont-Redwood Shores school districts.
Homelessness and housing instability can make students up to six times more likely to be chronically absent from school and four times more likely not to graduate high school, the study reported. Nationwide, 1.3 to 1.7 million youth are estimated to experience homelessness each year, according to the National Center for Homeless Education.
The research, published in a report titled "Housing Instability and Educational Outcomes of San Mateo County Youth," was conducted by Stanford's John W. Gardner Center in partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and 22 county school districts.