More than 30,000 students in Washington state are homeless, according to new findings from the state superintendent’s office. That’s nearly 50 percent more than six years ago.

A total of 30,609 students were counted as homeless by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. It’s not just kids living on the street, but anyone who does not have a stable place to go at night. That can include kids living in abandoned buildings, shelters, motels and campgrounds, or with friends and relatives.

The number is up 11.8 percent since the 2011-12 school year and 47.3 percent from 2007-08.
  • 2008-09:  20,780
  • 2009-10:  21,826
  • 2010-11:  26,049
  • 2011-12:  27,390
  • 2012-13:  30,609
The state said it’s hard to tell at a state level why the increase has happed, but suggests that lack of housing or a major employer moving out a region may contribute. Educators say homelessness can contribute to health problems, absenteeism and failure to graduate.

Washington state receives about $950,000 in federal money each year to help homeless students with things like transportation, tutoring, school supplies and other educational services, the state says.

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