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Number of Homeless Students Tops 27,000 McKinney-Vento law ensures free education even if student has no home


February 4, 2013

The reasons are varied: job loss. Unforeseen illness. Increasing housing costs. Foreclosures.

The result is the same: homeless students.

According to numbers released this past week by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, 27,390 students were reported as homeless in the 2011-12 school year. That number is up 5.1 percent from 2010-11 and up 46.7 percent 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.

Districts cite many reasons for the increase. The overall job market is still struggling, in addition to local economic factors, such as the closing of a paper mill in Everett and the decline of the logging industry in Shelton and elsewhere. More students are living on their own. And funding for services that help prevent homelessness is being cut.


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