Record Number of Public School Students Nationwide Are Homeless

A new report published by the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) shows that there were 1,258,182  homeless children enrolled in public preschool and grades K-12 during the 2012-2013 year, an eight percent increase from the prior year.  This figure represents a conservative estimate, as the data do not include homeless infants, toddlers and youngsters not enrolled in preschool, as well as homeless children and teens who were not identified by school officials.

According to the report:

  • Three-quarters of these students live with friends or extended family members, 16 percent live in shelters, 3 percent live without shelter, and 6 percent live completely on their own without parents or other family members.
  • A significant number of homeless students have disabilities or have limited English language skills.
  • As the number of homeless students has risen, their proficiency scores (reading, math) have decreased.

"A record number of homeless students mean a record number of our children being exposed to sexual trafficking, abuse, hunger, and denial of their basic needs," said Bruce Lesley, president of the First Focus Campaign for Children. "The new data means that a record number of kids in our schools and communities are spending restless nights in bed-bug infested motels and falling more behind in school by the day because they’re too tired and hungry to concentrate."

Read more: resources:
Homelessness: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (
Michigan's Campaign to End Homelessness (
Children in Poverty Course Module (
Investigating Children in Poverty (
Education in America (
Frederique Laubepin

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