Among K-12 students in Washington State, one in 25 is currently experiencing homelessness. That works out to "nearly one in every classroom," the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) said in a statement today.
In total, 40,934 Washington students were homeless during the 2016-2017 school year, according to data released by OSPI. That represents the latest in a steady increase over the last decade. OSPI reported last year that the number of homeless students nearly doubled between 2008 and 2016.
Of those, a large majority (about 30,000 students) were living "doubled-up," meaning they don't have a permanent address but stay with family or friends. The rest lived in motels, shelters, or on the streets. There are students experiencing homelessness in all grade levels with the highest number among seniors in high school. Among homeless students statewide, nearly 5,400 are unaccompanied.
According to OSPI, the number of Washington students living unsheltered, including in cars and on the streets, represented the largest increase this year. The number of unsheltered students increased by 619.
In Seattle Public Schools, 4,280 students were homeless last year, with 1,523 living in shelters, 125 unsheltered, and the rest in motels or doubled-up.
Homelessness among students can cause them to miss classes and struggle to graduate, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. "The students might be staying somewhere unsafe," Superintendent Chris Reykdal said in a statement. "And they may not have the time or a consistent place to study.”
See the full breakdown of homeless students by school district here.