The Facts

9, 10, 11, 12

The learners build on their understanding, seeking actual facts and statistics about homelessness locally and nationally.

PrintOne 50-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • read about causes and effects of homelessness. 
  • Display of questions from the previous lesson about people who are homeless
  • copies of the handout below: Homelessness - The Facts
  • shelter: temporary housing run by a city or other organization
  • income: the amount of money an individual or family is bringing in through work or other means
  • unemployment rate: the percentage of people who could be working but who do not have jobs
  • affordable housing: apartments or houses that an individual or family has enough money to live in, while still having enough money for food and other essential items 


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Review the group’s questions about homelessness. If it is not already on the chart, add the question: “What are the causes of homelessness?” 

  2. Give the young people 20-30 minutes to do some Internet research with a partner. The goal is to learn more about the causes of homelessness and to discover some basic facts about the ways people are homeless, how big the problem is, and where the issue is greatest. The handout below will help them to record their findings. 

  3. Circulate as they work, posing questions, asking what they’re finding, helping them to read the text and graphs, and reminding them to record their findings on the sheet.

  4. Come together as a group to discuss what everyone found. Create a chart entitled “Homelessness – The Facts” and record the new learning. Be sure to ask specifically what they found about facts in their area.

  5. Discuss the role of nonprofits in addressing the issue of homelessness. What are some nonprofits doing, and what limits are there to solving the problem? In contrast, discuss the roles of government, businesses, and individuals in creating and solving the problem. Discuss the difference between addressing the cause and helping people find comfort and meeting temporary needs.

  6. People can come together and work together to make change. Ask them to turn to a partner and discuss what they think can be done to make life better for people who are homeless. Then they share their ideas around the room. 

  7. Optional: Talk to someone at a local nonprofit working toward making homelessness temporary and not repeated. Find out ways for young people to help. Make a plan together to take action.


Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Provide an example of an organization (or a service that it contributes) from a list of categories of civil society organizations.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and describe how civil society sector organizations help people nationally and internationally.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss a public policy issue affecting the common good and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
      2. Benchmark HS.4 Analyze and synthesize information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to public policy. Discuss these issues evaluating the effects of individual actions on other people, the rule of law and ethical behavior.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.