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September 18, 2009
State Releases Homeless Student Count: Numbers Jump with Recession
SALEM – State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo announced today that Oregon’s homeless student population for the 2008-09 school year was 18,059, an increase of nearly 14 percent from last school year.
The recent one-year jump, predictable in the wake of the state’s major economic recession, shows a spike in the upward trend that Oregon has experienced since this count began six years ago. Since the first count in the 2003-2004 school year, the number of homeless students in Oregon has risen 122 percent.
Number of Homeless Students in Oregon By School Year
“Oregon schools are getting these students into class, despite their dire and often chaotic living situations,” Castillo said. “Thanks to the infusion of federal stimulus dollars for the Homeless Student Education program, over half of Oregon school districts will have additional funds to help serve students and families faced with homeless living situations this year. District staff, public and nonprofit agencies and advocates need to work together cooperatively at this time, since the number of people affected by the economy is far too large for any single public entity to handle alone.”
Additional Findings From the 2008-09 Homeless Student Count
Federal funds for educationally-disadvantaged students are used in most Oregon districts in combination with funds targeted specifically for assisting homeless students. Oregon also received slightly over $1 million in additional federal McKinney-Vento funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“Oregon leads the nation in combining federal funds to support homeless students,” said Barbara Duffield, Policy Director for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth. “By ensuring that federal programs are working in tandem to meet homeless students’ needs, Oregon has developed a model that should be replicated in other states.”
DISTRICTS WITH HIGHEST COUNTS OF HOMELESS STUDENTS 08-09
Each school district in the U.S. is required to have a homeless liaison to coordinate outreach efforts and services for homeless students in their area, as well as conduct the annual counts. Liaisons make sure students are enrolled in school, have the supplies they need and provide referrals to the community services for services such as shelter, health care and counseling. In addition, districts can pay for the transportation of homeless children who have moved during the school year to help them complete that year at the school they started at in the fall.
School districts are also called on to collaborate with other county and community efforts, such as ten-year plans to end homelessness, county homeless councils, runaway and homeless youth initiatives through the Oregon Commission on Children and Families, and other local public, non-profit, community and faith-based organizations.
To reach a school district’s homeless liaison, call the local school district administrative office.
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