Society

This State’s Homeless Student Population Increased 121 Percent Since 2006

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The number of homeless students in Indiana schools has gone up 121 percent since the Great Recession hit.

There were 16,223 homeless Indiana students during the 2012-2013 school year. In 2006-2007, that number was 7,300, according to the Indianapolis Star. This represents the largest jump in student homelessness in any state in the same period of time.

Suburban and rural Indiana have been hit the hardest, ThinkProgress reports. The number of homeless kids in Madison County rose nearly 900 percent.

Urban school districts faced this problem for decades, but it is now growing so quickly that they can hardly keep up with demand.

Shelters are few and far between in the suburbs and many families do not have transportation to get to shelters in Indianapolis.

"Families and students are doubling up with family and friends," said Carmela DeCandia, director of the National Center on Family Homelessness. "They are not showing up in the shelter system but the schools are seeing it."

In fall 2013, the Department of Education announced that more than 1.1 million primary, secondary, and preschool students across the country were homeless in 2011-2012. The only state with a higher percentage increase at that time was North Dakota, where it was up 212 percent.

More than 16 million children live in poverty in the United States – one of the highest child poverty rates of any developed county, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty. That's 22 percent of American kids living in households with incomes below the poverty level, $23,550 a year for a family of four.

About 49 million kids lived in food insecure homes in 2012, according to Feeding America. Mississippi and Arkansas lead the nation in food insecure households.

Sources: Indianapolis Star, ThinkProgress