About 1 in 25 K-12 students in Washington is considered homeless.
That’s according to data released by the state’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction on Thursday that showed there were 40,934 homeless students in 2016-17, a 3 percent increase from 2015-16.
According to the data:
- In Olympia School District, there were 264 homeless students, or fewer than 1 in 25 students.
- In North Thurston Public Schools, there were 928 homeless students, or about 1.5 in 25 students.
- In Tumwater School District, there were 188 homeless students, or fewer than 1 in 25 students.
The largest increase statewide was among unsheltered students, including those living in abandoned buildings, cars or on the streets. There were 2,753 unsheltered students in 2016-17, up 29 percent from the previous school year.
OSPI officials say homelessness contributes to higher rates of absenteeism, lower student achievement, and lower graduation rates. They say the increase may be caused by a combination of unemployment or underemployment and a lack of affordable housing.
“Students experiencing homelessness need a place that is stable, a place where they are supported and nurtured,” Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction, said in a news release. “For some, that place is school.”
Abby Spegman: 360-704-6869, @AbbySpegman