Friday, August 16, 2019

The growing crisis of homeless kids | Students on the Move | APM Reports

The growing crisis of homeless kids | Students on the Move | APM Reports

The growing crisis of homeless kids
They sleep in cars, motels and relatives' houses, and they're more likely to drop out of school and spend their lives in poverty. Due to the lack of affordable housing, the U.S. has more of these children than ever before.

Savannah is squinting as she thinks. The question she's trying to answer would be easy for most ninth graders: How many schools have you gone to? Savannah has to do some quick mental math.
"About 14 in the last six years," she says.
That's more than two schools a year.
Savannah lives in Spokane Valley, Washington, a sprawling suburb east of Spokane. Her parents split up about six years ago. Then her mom fell behind on the bills, and they lost their place. For several years after that, they were constantly on the move. They slept in cars, hotel rooms or on someone's couch. Most of the time, she was with her mom, but sometimes she stayed with other people: friends, acquaintances, her teenage sister.

"I was kind of everywhere," she says. "Sleeping kind of wherever I could."
Savannah was one of 1.3 million school kids that the U.S. Department of Education tallied as homeless in its most recent count, the largest number ever recorded. The majority of homeless people are adults on their own, but the number of homeless families and kids has grown dramatically as the amount of affordable housing has shrunk in many cities. The number of homeless kids in public schools has increased by about 70 percent over the past decade, according to the Education Department.
Spokane has seen its share of that increase, and that's why the city's Open Doors family shelter is so busy.
The shelter is in the basement of a church in a residential neighborhood close to downtown Spokane. At dawn on a weekday morning this past winter, families were waking up. They had spent the night on the floor on mats spaced a few feet apart. Sixty-five people slept here overnight.
"About half of those are kids," says Joe Ader, the shelter's executive director. "Most of those are under the age of 12." CONTINUE READING: The growing crisis of homeless kids | Students on the Move | APM Reports


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