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Dona Bolt, (503) 947-5781

September 10, 2008

State Releases Homeless Student Report: Numbers Continue to Climb

September 10, 2008

SALEM – State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo announced today that Oregon’s homeless student population for the 2007-08 school year was 15,859. Homeless students are defined as those who lack fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. A homeless family could live in an emergency shelter or share housing with others due to loss of housing or economic hardship, stay at motels, or live in cars, parks, public places, tents, trailers, or other similar settings. The number of homeless students in Oregon has continued to grow since the first report was issued five years ago:
  • 8,143 (2003-04)
  • 11,294 (2004-05)
  • 13,159 (2005-06)
  • 15,517 (2006-07)
  • 15,859 (2007-08) – an increase of 93% since 2003-04
"Thousands of children in Oregon continue to attend school despite unstable living situations,” Castillo said. “Homeless students face huge challenges before they even get to the classroom door. Schools have an important part to play in helping these students, along with many other public and private organizations. The value of this report is that it shines a light on students who need extra support to overcome barriers to their success in school, and I encourage education and community leaders to look at their local plans for ensuring their classroom doors are open to all students."

Other results of the 2007-08 homeless student count are listed below:
  • 15,859 of Oregon’s 566,067 students (3%) were homeless for some period of time during 2007-08
  • 7,032 homeless students were in elementary schools (enrolled in grades K-5)
  • 3,224 homeless students were in middle schools (enrolled in grades 6-8)
  • 5,603 homeless students were in high schools (enrolled in grades 9-12)
  • Just as in past years, the greatest numbers of homeless students were 12th graders (1,774)
  • 2,802 students within the total count were unaccompanied homeless minors who had been abandoned by parents, or had run away from home or foster care placement.
  • 11,112 homeless students shared housing with relatives or friends due to economic hardship, such as foreclosure, homes destroyed by floods or fires, job losses, etc.
  • 970 students in Oregon lived in a motel as their primary residence during the 07-08 school year
  • 1,820 homeless students lived in a shelter as their primary residence
  • 1,957 students were “unsheltered,” meaning they lived in cars, sheds, tents, on the streets, and/or in structures not meant for human habitation.
Funding for school districts serving homeless students comes from the federal McKinney-Vento Act’s Homeless Education Program. The Act ensures that homeless children have equal access to the same education provided to other children, with special accommodations if students need items such as clothing and shoes. Districts also use Title I-A of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) to help fund services to homeless students, as well as local funds, donations and fundraising activities.

The following school districts reported the largest numbers of homeless students during 2007-08:
Portland (1,232 of 49,297 total enrollment)
Medford (1,094 of 12,408 total enrollment)
Beaverton (973 of 37,812 total enrollment)
Salem-Keizer (844 of 40,144 total enrollment)
Eugene (632 of 18,025 total enrollment)
Bend-LaPine (624 of 15,874 total enrollment)
Reynolds (546 of 11,105 total enrollment)
David Douglas (505 of 10,401 total enrollment)

Each school district 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. Homeless Liaisons make sure students are enrolled in school, have the supplies they need and provide referrals to the community services for shelter, health care and counseling. They are also called on to assist other county and community efforts to end homelessness, such as Ten-Year Plan Committees, County Homeless Councils, Continuums of Care and other local public and non-profit collaborations. They are now helping with grant applications for supportive housing and other programs in their communities, through agencies such as Oregon Housing and Community Services, and the Commission on Children and Families.

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Gene Evans, Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5737

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

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Salem, OR 97310-0203

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