Nationwide, public schools identified 1.5 million children experiencing homelessness in the 2017-2018 school year, an increase of 11% from the previous school year, according to a report released in January by the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE).
A small portion of those students are living in unsheltered situations, such as cars, parks, streets or bus stations, a segment that more than doubled from the previous school year. Homeless students in emergency shelters or transitional housing decreased by 2% while those staying in motels went up by 17%. Students living with others for short-term stays — such as crashing on the couches of friends after eviction — increased by 9% that year.
Yet a November 2019 audit in California found the Golden State’s schools undercounted their homeless students by at least 37% during the 2017-2018 school year.
A recent UCLA study found that more than 200,000 students — 3.3% of the state’s student population — are experiencing homelessness. Santa Barbara ranks highest, with 12% of its students reporting living conditions that qualify as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act.
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