Homeless students increasing statewide


OLYMPIA — 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.

The numbers are trending down, however, in North Central Washington’s largest school district. The Wenatchee School District listed 499 homeless students in the 2012-13 school year, following 508 students in the 2011-12 school year and 587 in the 2010-11 school year.

The second largest district, Eastmont, listed 213 students as homeless last year, compared with 192 in 2011-12, and 223 in 2010-11.

Collecting and reporting homeless numbers is a requirement of the federal McKinney- Vento Act, which applies to all homeless children and youth.

Specific reasons for the increase 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, officials said.

 

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