1 out of 25 Vancouver students considered homeless last school year, state says

Vancouver Public Schools classroom - KATU image

VANCOUVER, Wash. – More than 1,000 students in the Vancouver Public Schools district are homeless, according to information from Washington State, accounting for about one out of every 25 children in the district.

School officials are taking several steps to help those students and their family members with things like donated supplies and food.

“We make sure the food that we collect and is donated is food that people can eat easily. That there's not a whole lot of cooking to do,” said district employee Melissa Newhouse.

Last week, the state’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction said 40,934 Washington students were counted as homeless over the last school year – marking just over a 3 percent increase.

In Vancouver there were 1,013 students considered homeless, compared to 1,042 in Evergreen Public Schools and 4,280 in Seattle Public Schools.

Newhouse said the problem comes in part from a lack of affordable housing in the area.

“We have a number of families that are doubled up which means they're living with family and friends. We also have a number of families that are couch surfing. So they're going from one place to another,” said Newhouse. “In an average Vancouver classroom at least one student has nowhere to study, do homework or get a good night’s sleep for the next day.”

She said it is sometimes a struggle for those kids to get to class.

“It might be as simple as eating dinner and having enough food, or it might be clothing or transportation… getting to and from school,” Newhouse said.

To help the families, Newhouse said she’s even gone as far as driving a parent to a job interview.

If you would like to help out, there is more information on where and what you can donate on the Vancouver Public Schools website.

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