Homeless student numbers declined for first time since 2012-13, according to new data
Thursday, November 15, 2018
The number of Oregon homeless students dropped more than 750 for 2017-18, according to Oregon Department of Education data released Thursday. It was the first decline since a change in federal reporting requirements for 2012-13.
According to the report, 21,756 students were homeless, about 3.75 percent of the K-12 student population. In 2016-17, 3.9 percent of students were homeless.
Homeless is defined as lacking “a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.” Homeless students include children living in shelters, on the streets, in motels, in temporary housing and in shared housing. Most homeless students live with friends or relatives because their families have lost housing.
Under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, every district must have a liaison to identify homeless students and provide services. State homeless counts by grade level from kindergarten to 11th grade range between 1,400 and 1,750, with more than 2,700 homeless in 12th grade.
Rural districts are seeing increases in homeless students as families seek more affordable housing, and many of the highest percentages were in small districts. The Mapleton School District near Florence had 43 homeless students, the highest percentage of enrollment at 30.28 percent.
Urban districts had lower percentages but far more homeless students. Beaverton School District had 1,799 homeless students, the highest total number and 4.4 percent of its enrollment.
“The Oregon Department of Education is committed to making sure that the school environment is as stable as possible for students who are dealing with difficult challenges outside the classroom,” ODE Communications Director Marc Siegel said in a statement.