Student homelessness as high as 1 in 10 in some county districts

Columbia Legal Services recently reported that 1 in 34 students in Washington State are homeless. The overall picture in King County is somewhat better (1 in 44 students), but the county average masks large differences among districts.  Three districts are doing much worse than the county average: Tukwila (1 in 10 students), Highline (1 in 20), and Seattle (1 in 21).   In three other districts (Mercer Island, Issaquah, and Lake Washington) fewer than 1 in 100 students are homeless. 

Patterns of homelessness differ among the 3 districts with the highest rates.  While 71% of Seattle’s homeless students live in shelters, about ¾ of homeless students in Tukwila and Highline are “doubled up” (living with a series of friends or extended family). In addition, more than half of homeless students in Tukwila and Highline are in grade 5 or lower, compared to only 38% in Seattle, where homeless students are more likely to be in high school.

Why does this matter for students?  Independent of poverty, the academic performance of homeless and other highly mobile students is lower – and is likely to stay lower – than that of students with more residential stability.  Homeless students are also more likely than stably housed students to experience family adversity and problems with physical and emotional health.  For information on sources, please go to “Other Sources” in HOUSING: Notes & Sources.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *