Doubled-up Guidance

Published: March 31, 2020

“Doubled-up” refers to situations in which families are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason. About three of every four students experiencing homelessness are in doubled-up situations, according to Schoolhouse Washington’s recent data analysis of students in Washington’s K-12 schools who are experiencing homelessness.

Students experiencing homelessness who are living doubled-up have similarly poor academic outcomes as those living in hotels, motels, and shelters, or who are unsheltered. Unfortunately, students living doubled-up are not prioritized for housing resources under the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Accordingly, service systems governed or funded by HUD often do not serve students and families living doubled-up.

Students living doubled-up need to be connected to resources to improve housing stability and academic success. We must also address inconsistencies around how different systems and government agencies define homelessness so that students living doubled-up are fully supported.

(Note: Acronyms following recommendations indicate sources for those recommendations. See the Sources Key for details.)

Goal 1:

School districts and school-based staff understand doubled-up eligibility and are able to identify students living in this housing situation. Staff are also properly trained to advocate and provide support for students living doubled-up.

  1. Inform school and district staff, students and families, lawmakers, and community members about the different definitions of homelessness at the state and federal levels. (PE, LE) *See Housing Partnerships topic area, goal 4, for further information.
  2. Train school-based staff on how to identify and serve students living in doubled-up housing situations. (PE, LE)
  3. Train school-based staff on available housing resources for the benefit of students who are living doubled-up. (PE, LE)

Goal 2:

Students and families living in doubled-up situations have access to programs and services that meet their housing needs.

  1. Utilize Homeless Student Stability Program funding, local foundations, employee union organizations, and parent and teacher associations to support programs and services for students living doubled-up. (PE, MM)
  2. Provide services to support students and families in doubled-up living situations, such as case management, flex funding, landlord incentives, and housing searches. (PE, LE, MM) *See Housing Partnerships topic area for further information. 
  3. School-based staff should explore partnerships to engage housing stability programs, services, and resources for the benefit of students who are living doubled-up. *See Housing Partnerships topic area, goal 2, for further information.

Sources Key

Professional Expertise
Lived Expertise
Mixed-methods Research
Sources include:
Building Changes/Schoolhouse Washington staff; school and district staff interviewed through Schoolhouse Washington-funded projects and the Students of Color project
Students and families of color experiencing homelessness interviewed through the Students of Color project
Beating the Odds quantitative and qualitative analysis showing association between a practice and better-than-predicted outcomes