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Student Homelessness: Notes & Sources


Accommodations of homeless students:  These data reflect each student’s “primary nighttime residence” at the time the student was identified as homeless by the school district. The United States Department of Education requires accommodations to fall within 4 categories: shelters, doubled-up, unsheltered, and hotels/motels. (For more detail, see definition of Homelessness.)

Homelessness is a term that refers to being without permanent housing. The United States Department of Education classifies as homeless students who stay in shelters, “double up,” live in hotels or motels, or are unsheltered (live in abandoned buildings, campgrounds, vehicles, trailer parks, FEMA shelters, bus or train stations, substandard or inadequate housing, or on the streets; or are abandoned in the hospital). "Doubling up" refers to living with relatives or friends due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or other reasons (such as family turmoil, domestic violence, incarceration, hospitalization, drug/alcohol treatment, eviction, etc.). 

King County regions: The geographic boundaries of the four King County sub-regions (North, Seattle, East, and South) are defined by the aggregation of ZIP codes. See map of regions here.

Data Sources

Rates of student homelessness in King County school districts were calculated using data from the following sources:

  • K-12 enrollment for all reported school years from the report card summary on the website of Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington state.
  • Data tables for homelessness in all reported school years, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington state, at http://www.k12.wa.us/HomelessEd/Data.aspx.

Other Sources

Background on student homelessness came from Columbia Legal Services brief at http://columbialegal.org/files/2014%202%2010%20Release_Homeless%20Students%20in%20WA.pdf and "Academic Achievement Trajectories of homeless and highly mobile students: Resilience in the context of chronic and acute risk" in Child Development. 2013 May-Jun; 84(3): 841-57. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12013. Epub 2012 Oct 30, at http://ftp.serve.org/nche/downloads/acad-ach-res-article-oct2012.pdf

Definition of student homelessness came from “Counting Homeless Students for Purposes of the Annual Homeless Student Data Collection, 2010-2011,” Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction at http://www.k12.wa.us/HomelessEd/pubdocs/CountingHomelessStudents.pdf.

Map of King County school districts can be found at http://fmapps.wsdot.wa.gov/fmi/xsl/SafeRoutes/SchoolDistricts.xsl?-db=WalkRoutes&-lay=WebSchoolDistricts&Counties::CountyName=King&-find.

Quote:  Communities Count interviewed 32 King County parents or guardians raising at least one child younger than 6 years of age.  We reached out to communities of color, recent immigrants, and residents with limited English proficiency to achieve a broad range of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity. We interviewed both families with very low household income and those who earned up to median income (about $68,000 for a family of four in 2010). Family structures included single-parent households, couples living in consensual unions, married couples, and extended families.  Communities Count also interviewed service providers from several organizations in King County.