Number of homeless students in Oregon reaches record high - KPTV - FOX 12

Number of homeless students in Oregon reaches record high

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Even with a recovering economy, Oregon school districts served over 20,500 students experiencing homelessness during the 2014-15 school year, according to the Oregon Department of Education.

This is an eight percent increase over the previous school year, which has been unseen since 2010-11.

According to the report, under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program, students are identified as homeless if they are: living in a shelter, residing in a motel, sharing housing due to economic hardship, or living in an unsheltered situation such as a vehicle, tent, or other substandard housing.

"Despite an improving economy, many Oregon families are still struggling just to meet their most basic needs," Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor said.

According to the report, every Oregon school district employs a homeless liaison who identifies and provides services and support to students experiencing homelessness.

Not only do these liaisons help keep students in school, but they work with families to connect them with social services and other resources to help them get back on their feet.

 "For many of our families, the economic recovery has not yet become a reality. Families are still looking for work, struggling to get by, and trying to provide a sense of stability to their children," said Oregon Department of Education Homeless Specialist Dona Bolt. "It is critical that we all work together to address the complex underlying issues and get more children - and adults - into permanent and stable housing."

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