Child & Family Social Work
This study builds on previous research to understand longer term housing experiences in late adolescence and early adulthood for vulnerable college students. Using a biographical, qualitative method, we study high school and college housing and family circumstances for 27 students with homelessness or foster care experience enrolled in 4-year colleges in Georgia. We identified three different housing pathway types in high school—family homelessness, unaccompanied youth and foster care. Housing instability and frequent moves were common in high school among all housing pathway types. In college, students who were able to find low or no-cost housing and those who identified a foster care pathway in high school achieved greater housing stability. Others students experienced a continuation of housing instability that began in high school. Additional funding to cover the cost of on-campus housing would likely contribute to increased stability. Additional strategies, such as rental assistance programmes tailored for college students, may be needed to address housing instability for vulnerable college students. More research on the unmet housing needs and the consequences of housing instability during college for homeless and foster youth is needed to further a housing policy agenda that focuses on practical solutions.