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Homelessness hits K-12 students hard

Cory Butler, 20, sits in the living room of Rod's House in Yakima, Wash. on Jan. 5, 2018. Butler has been homeless since he was 18, but has plans of getting his GED and becoming a tattoo artist. (Jake Parrish / Yakima Herald-Republic)
Cory Butler, 20, sits in the living room of Rod's House in Yakima, Wash. on Jan. 5, 2018. Butler has been homeless since he was 18, but has plans of getting his GED and becoming a tattoo artist. (Jake Parrish / Yakima Herald-Republic)

Homelessness isn’t just a problem among adults in urban areas.

Recent data shows homelessness among students K-12 rising statewide for the ninth school year in a row, to a new high of 40,934, according to the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The year before, 39,671 homeless students were counted statewide, nearly double that of the 2008-09 school year, according to OSPI data.

But did you know that more than half of those students – 21,968 – are in kindergarten through sixth grade?

Here’s how the statewide homeless student count breaks down in those grades in the 2016-17 school year, according to the most recent data:

Kindergarten: 3,224.

First grade: 3,191 students.

Second grade: 3,305.

Third grade: 3,251.

Fourth grade: 3,136.

Fifth grade: 2,966.

Sixth grade: 2,895.

The largest group of homeless students were 12th graders with 4,660 that school year.

What isn’t widely known is relatively large number of homeless students in rural areas, such as the Lower Yakima Valley.

Later this month, the Yakima Herald-Republic will publish a story revealing area communities grappling with the highest percentages of homeless youth.


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