Number Of Homeless Students In Wash. State Rises Again, Tops 30,000

Feb 27, 2014

The number of homeless students in Washington state has risen for the sixth straight year, this time topping 30,000.

The latest count by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction shows the number of students without homes rose by 11.8 percent from the previous year to reach 30,609 last school year. The figure reflects a 47.3 percent spike from the 2008-2009 school year.

As for why the number is rising, the office said specific reasons are difficult to determine at the state level.

“Many community factors – such as lack of housing options, a major employer moving out of a region, the local job market – may contribute,” the office said in a written statement.

The McKinney-Vento Act, which requires the collection of annual totals, defines a student as homeless if he or she lacks a fixed, regular nighttime residence.

Each school district is required to have a liaison who helps set up services to homeless students including tutoring, supplies and transportation.

The state receives $950,000 in federal funds each year to help homeless students. School districts, in turn, receive the funds in the form of competitive grants.