The Economic Crisis Hits Home

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First Focus/National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth

The nation's school districts are experiencing an upsurge in the number of homeless students enrolled in their schools, according to a report based on a fall 2008 survey of school district administrators. The voluntary survey found that during just the first two to three months of the 2008-2009 school year:

  • 330 school districts had the same number or more homeless students than in the entire previous year.
  • 847 school districts had at least half the number of homeless students in the entire previous school year.
  • 459 school districts had an increase of at least 25 percent in the number of homeless students identified in the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school years.

"This survey largely confirms what we already know about the number of students becoming homeless - it's grown exponentially," Bruce Lesley, president of Washington, D.C.-based First Focus, said in a statement on the survey's findings.

School district administrators said several challenges were associated with increases in the number homeless students, including rising transportation and school access costs, and not having enough trained staff members who could identify and support children and youth experiencing homelessness.

In April, First Focus released a report estimating that the foreclosure crisis would affect more than 2 million U.S. children. Free, 22 pages. (202) 657-0670,