California schools faced with growing homeless population
- More than 200,000 K-12 students in California are considered homeless by federal definitions, a number that has risen 20% since 2014, EdSource reveals in a special report.
- Just over 3% of the state's enrolled public school students, more than twice the national rate, are homeless, but numbers are likely much higher since not all families accurately report their homeless status.
- Homelessness affects student populations because they are dealing with extreme poverty, stress and exhaustion, which result in poor academic performance and higher drop out rates.
While homelessness in California is growing at an alarming rate, this is a national crisis. In the 2013-14 academic year, 1.36 million students in the U.S. fell into the homeless category, either living out of vehicles or in temporary living situations. This situation not only affects the health and economic well-being of students, but also impacts school performance as well.
Lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest factors in the problem. As housing prices rise, families often have to combine several households within one dwelling, This situation creates a noisy, crowded and unstable home situation that is not conducive to learning.
The housing crisis affects teachers as well. In some areas of California, many teachers face long commutes in order to access housing that falls within their budget. The teacher housing crisis affects areas across the country as well. Some states are seeking creative solutions to providing teacher housing, including building homes for teachers, or providing cheaper rental solutions to entice teachers to school districts.
- EdSource Shelters, cars and crowded rooms