For the sixth year in a row, the number of homeless students in Washington state has increased. Numbers released recently by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction show that 30,609 students were counted as homeless. The number is an 11.8 percent increase from 2011-12 and a 47.3 increase from 2007-08.
Collecting and reporting homeless numbers is a requirement of the federal McKinney– Vento Act, which applies to all homeless children and youth — and ensures free education even if student has no home.
Reasons for the increase include: a lack of housing options, a major employer moving out of a region, and the local job market.
Washington state receives about $950,000 per year from the federal government to help homeless students. That money is given to districts in the form of competitive grants, with money going to districts with the greatest need.
All districts are required to have a homeless liaison, who is tasked with identifying, enrolling and setting up services for homeless students.
Homeless students in Washington state
February 28, 2014/M-L Foster, KMAS News