Statewide Student Homelessness Numbers are Staggering

The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) has released a data snapshot analyzing student homelessness in public schools in Washington, where in the state they reside, and how they perform in school compared to their peers. It is based on data from the 2014-15 school year. This is part of a series of state-specific snapshots. The report is free to download here.

Highlights from the report:

  • There are more than 35,500 homeless students in Washington.
  • The number of homeless students increased 30% between SY 2011-12 to SY 2014-15.
  • Washington had the 8th highest number of homeless students and the 9th highest rate of student homelessness in the U.S.
  • There are 3.3 homeless children for every 100 public school students in the state.
  • Orondo and Dixie School Districts had the highest rates of homeless students in the state.
  • Seattle Public Schools, Tacoma, Spokane, and Highline had more than 1,000 homeless students each.
  • Washington’s homeless students are not achieving academically on a par with their housed peers. Bellevue School District had the largest achievement gap. In reading, 77% of all students were proficient, while just 25-29% of homeless students were proficient. In math, 75% of all students were proficient, while only 20-24% of homeless students were proficient.

There were more than 1.26 million homeless children and youth in the 2014-15 school year, across the U.S. Homelessness disproportionately impacts children and families. A quality education can be the most important tool to helping children and families lift themselves out of a recurring pattern of housing instability. To do that, however, these children must first be identified as homeless and then receive the necessary support to ensure that homelessness does not disrupt their learning. 

“We cannot afford to ignore the complex challenges faced by homeless children and their families,” says Dr. Ralph da Costa Nunez, President of ICPH. “Unless we enact common sense public policies that address the educational and economic needs of homeless families, today’s homeless children may become tomorrow’s homeless parents.”

Share this story!