The Number of Homeless Students in Idaho Has Risen Dramatically
BOISE – August 30, 2018
The housing issue has become serious for a number of students in the state of Idaho: the number of students considered to be homeless has doubled for the last eight years in some communities.
Data from the Idaho State Department of Education show that since 2010, the numbers are ticking upward. Homeless students — also termed "students in transition" — are in schools of all sizes, in all geographic areas from urban to rural Idaho. And in some districts, the numbers have doubled and even tripled from where they were eight years ago.
"It’s very hard for a student to be present in a classroom if they are thinking about where am I going to sleep tonight,” Washington Elementary School counselor Cristina Medrano said.
Medrano has been a school counselor at Washington Elementary in the Caldwell School District for three years.
"It is hard sometimes emotionally but I know I'm in the right place,” Medrano added. "I've run into situations where it's really heartbreaking and I wish I could just take them home, I wish I could take the family’s home. And a lot of times there are things that are not in their control."
In Caldwell School District, the number of homeless students has more than doubled since 2010: in 2010, State Department of Education data shows there were 203 homeless students, whereas in the 2016-17 school year there were 449 (Note: concrete 2017-18 school year data to come). In a district with 6,338 students in the 2016-17 school year, homeless students made up about 7 percent of the student population.
Yet, officials have no idea how to tackle this problem, so it’s possible to expect its worsening in a few years perspective.