Homeless students up 26 percent since 2006-07
Indianapolis (AP) - Homlessness among children enrolled in Indiana public schools rose 26 percent over the two years ending in 2008-09 as the state felt the brunt of the economic downturn, a new report shows.
The report this week by First Focus, a children's advocacy group, cited recently released federal data showing that homelessness among students nationwide grew for two straight years since 2006-07. The group called on Congress to pass new funding for homeless student programs, noting that stimulus funding for that purpose is running out.
Indiana Department of Education data shows the total number of homeless students numbered nearly 10,000 across Indiana last year, 43% in kindergarten through third grade. These students were suspended from school at a rate nearly twice the state average.
Lisa Travis, program manager for Indiana Institute for Working Families at the Indiana Community Action Association, said the number of unemployed Indiana residents, those living below the poverty level and those receiving food stamps continue to go up.