Transient Zip Codes: Utilizing Counternarratives to Examine the Compounded Effects of Structural Racism and Housing Insecurity
Keywords:structural racism, housing insecurity, McKinney-Vento, counternarratives
Lack of access to consistent, stable housing threatens the health, well-being, and educational outcomes of families and students experiencing homelessness. Equally important are out-of-school factors shaping student engagement. This research highlights the implications associated with high school aged students experiencing housing instability traveling multiple locales to remain engaged in school. Structural racism and counternarratives are employed to understand the experiences of two Black youth as they navigate housing insecurity while pursuing their high school diplomas. The student’s counternarratives elevate three significant themes: 1. Structural inequities, 2. Black youth experiencing homelessness value their education and, 3. The educational pursuits of youth experiencing homelessness in historically Black, disinvested communities are compounded by their community’s cumulative disadvantage. Structural racism, and counternarratives offer a more robust racial analysis of structural inequities inherent in schools and communities, and challenge deficit narratives that limit positive educational outcomes and housing stability for students and families experiencing homelessness.