In June, homeless Khadijah Williams graduated from Jefferson High School on the east side of Los Angeles. Her mother and younger sister, who are also homeless, said their goodbyes and Khadijah set off for summer college prep courses at Cornell University in New York state. In the fall, she was scheduled to start as a freshman with a full academic scholarship at Harvard University. See the Seattle Times article.
Like other homeless kids, Khadijah’s primary and secondary education was chaotic. She moved from place to place, with her mother and sister, up and down California. She attended 12 different schools in 12 years.
Despite the tremendous odds against her, Khadijah is succeeding in her higher education and in the goals she has set for her life. Success like Khadijah’s is rare, but not unique or impossible for others. Her success goes some way toward showing that homeless persons — even kids! — can find personalized solutions to homelessness. Also, their individual solutions do not necessarily depend on first having free or heavily subsidized housing, which, as many discover, is no guarantee against future homelessness.
The most cost-effective and reliable solutions to homelessness spring from a homeless person’s self-investment — education, social skills, and job skills — and result in economic independence, community engagement, and better opportunities for themselves and their children.