USICH updated our map of homelessness statistics to include data from public schools, as reported to the Department of Education, on children and youth who experienced homelessness at any point during the 2018-2019 school year.
These are the key findings, as presented in the full report by the National Center for Homeless Education:
• The number of identified, enrolled students reported as experiencing homelessness at some point during the last three school years increased 2%, from 1,358,077 students in SY 2016-17 to 1,387,573 students in SY 2018-19. The number of homeless students decreased 8% between SYs 2017-18 and 2018-19
• Fourteen states experienced growth in their homeless student populations of 10% or more during the three-year period covered in this report. In contrast, only nine states saw equally large decreases during the same period.
• The number of school districts that received subgrants under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento Act)saw little change during the period covered in this report; 4,400 school districts, or 23%, received either an award as a single school district or an award as part of a regional consortium during SY 2018-19.
• States provided an average per-pupil amount of $94.99 in McKinney-Vento funding to school districts for the additional supports needed by homeless students in SY 2018-19. The average per-pupil amount increased by approximately $18.00 between SYs 2016-17 and 2018-19.
• During SY 2018-19, students sharing housing with others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason comprised 77% of the students who experienced homelessness. Twelve percent of homeless students resided in shelters. Seven percent had a primary nighttime residence of hotels or motels, and 4% were identified as unsheltered.
• Over the three-year period, the number of students in sheltered situations at the time they were first identified decreased by 11%. This decrease can be partly attributed to a change in the definition of a homeless student under the McKinney-Vento Act that resulted in the exclusion of students awaiting foster care placement. States began a transition to the new definition starting in SY 2016-17 and completed it in SY 2017-18.
• The number of students in unsheltered situations decreased by 46% between SYs 2017-18 and 2018-19 after having increased by 104% between SYs 2016-17 and 2017-18.
• Similar percentages of unaccompanied homeless youth, who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, resided in shelters, transitional housing and unsheltered situations in comparison to the overall homeless student body. However, unaccompanied homeless youth utilized hotels, motels, and shared housing differently than the overall homeless student body. Less than 2% of unaccompanied homeless youth resided in hotels or motels and 84% resided in doubled-up situations.
• While the overall homeless student population increased by 2% over the three years covered in this report, counts of unaccompanied homeless youth grew by more than 6%, counts of homeless migratory students and English learners increased by nearly 5%, and counts of homeless children with disabilities increased by nearly 8%. Despite the faster rate of growth for these groups of students, they still account for approximately the same percentage of the homeless student population at they did in SY 2016-17.
• During SY 2018-19, approximately 30% of students experiencing homelessness achieved academic proficiency in reading/language arts. During the same school year, 25% of the students achieved proficiency in mathematics and 28% achieved proficiency in science.
• Homeless students scored lower than economically disadvantaged students on statewide assessments by approximately eight to nine percentage points.
• States submitted data on the number of students who graduated from high school in SY 2018- 19, based on an adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR). For the homeless student subgroup, State graduation rates for students who graduated within four years ranged from 49% to 86% of students experiencing homelessness. The five-year ACGR for homeless students was higher than the four-year ACGR in 21 of the 26 states reporting the optional extended year rate.