We know the economic recession has plunged many Oregon adults into unemployment
. What sometimes goes overlooked is the recession's shattering effect it also has on kids.
According to findings out today from the Oregon Department of Education, the 2008-2009 school year saw an increase of nearly 14 percent
in the number of homeless students enrolled in Oregon schools. There were 18,051 homeless students — nearly enough to fill the Rose Garden for a Blazer game — in K-12 schools
statewide during the 2008-2009 school year, compared to 15,859 the previous year. Last year's number also is more than double what it was in the 2003-04 school year
Homeless students are classified under the federal McKinney-Vento Act Program for Education of Homeless Students as being without a "fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence." Some of them may live in shelters or shared housing. Others may be on the street seeking shelter in cars, parks, and under bridges.
The study says that 8,268 students, the largest group of homeless, were attending elementary school (K-5). Portland Public Schools' percentage of students classified as homeless is 3.8 percent; the number for the David Douglas School District in East Portland is 4.5 percent; and the district with the largest share of homeless kids is Woodburn where 10.8 percent of its students are considered homeless.