Three Reasons Why Education Programs for Adults are Necessary to Help the Homeless Population
The Homeless Coalition of Fort Wayne works to address homelessness through the education of one individual (or small group of individuals) at a time. Benefits of adult education include increased job opportunities, increased opportunities for homeless children and learner confidence.
Increased Job Opportunities
According to the National Coalition for Literacy:
In 2009, 24% of adults aged 25+ without a high school diploma experienced poverty, 12% of those with a high school degree or equivalent did so, and the rates continue to drop with educational attainment.
It is true that employment does not solve homelessness. Increasing employment opportunity is certainly worth the effort. Employment can increase confidence, quality of life, and opportunities for future success.
The Heartland Alliance, a leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest, believes that basic adult education is essential for the future well being of impoverished adults. According to their website:
Jobs that require at least some postsecondary education are expected to grow in the next decade, however many low-skilled jobseekers lack the basic reading and math skills needed to access post-secondary education and training programs.
One must crawl before walking. If a homeless individual wishes to pursue higher education, he or she may be hopelessly blocked by a lack of basic skills. Even if a homeless individual does not desire to pursue higher education, basic math and English skills are necessary for many if not most entry-level positions.
Learning is a Family Affair
Families comprise 36% of America’s homeless population according to a 2013 report by the U.S. department of Housing and Urban Development. Parents, naturally, are their children’s first teachers. A parent teaches their child everything from how to walk and talk to how to behave and function in society. A teacher cannot teach what he/she does not know. Due to extenuating circumstances earlier in life, a parent may lack the very skills the parent wishes to teach his/her child. In such a situation the parent may need a little help. The more help the parent receives, the more help the child is likely to receive.
Confidence is one of those magical things that impact every area of an individual’s life. Confidence can lead to a better personal, home and work life. A lack of confidence can do exactly the opposite. What an individual needs to be confident changes from individual to individual. Look at another quote from the Heartland Alliance:
Learner confidence and persistence may increase when literacy and numeracy instruction is relevant to learners’ practical goals, and when students are given the opportunity to apply what they learn.
The idea that education needs to be centered on the individual is at the very heart of the Homeless Coalition of Fort Wayne’s mission. Classes are tailored to meet the needs of the tutee. The tutee gains the appropriate knowledge for his/her own life path. With knowledge comes power. With power comes confidence.