Press Release

Contact: First Focus Campaign for Children
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Recession Leads to 50% Increase in Homeless students

Education
Housing & Homelessness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new analysis released today uncovered startling facts about the number of homeless students in our nation’s schools. According to the brief, American schools have experienced drastic increases in the number of homeless students entering their classrooms since the beginning of the recession. The brief finds that 26 states collectively report a 50 percent increase in the number of homeless children attending school since the 2006-07 school year.

In addition, the report finds that, during the 2007-2008 school year, school districts reported a 17 percent increase over the prior year in homeless students (679,724 homeless students enrolled during 2006-2007; 794,617 homeless students enrolled during 2007-2008, an increase of 114,893 students, or 17 percent). When students become homeless they not only suffer academically, but their mental and physical health are put at risk as well.

The brief entitled, Creating Jobs and Supporting Homeless Students, urges our nation’s leaders to take swift action by assisting school districts in helping students stay in school, even though they have lost their homes. It was written by First Focus, a children’s advocacy organization, and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, a membership organization of educators and others serving homeless children and youth.

“Our findings confirm what we already know about the number of homeless students – it has grown exponentially. When families lose their homes, children often lose their schools and access to services. Such changes not only impact their education but their physical and mental health as well.” said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children. “When we help children grow and succeed, we are paving the way for our country’s next generation of workers and leaders. As Congress considers the Jobs Bill, we urge investments in jobs that support and assist the most innocent victims of the economic downturn – our nation’s children. By saving and creating jobs like homeless support staff, school social workers, psychologists, and community outreach staff, we will strengthen the economy while helping thousands of children continue their education and realize the American Dream.”

Although data on homeless students is not yet available for every state, other research has confirmed the recession has taken its toll on children. A recent report released by First Focus and the Brookings Institution found that the number of children across the nation receiving food stamps increased by 3.4 million in just one year. Further, new research has shown that 10.5 million children have an unemployed parent.

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