Michigan's student homelessness problem is growing

Dec 11, 2013

The number of K-12 students in the U.S. without a home is on the rise.

More than 1.1 million children in the U.S. were homeless in the 2011-2012 school year, according to the Department of Education.

Suzi Parker at takepart.com looked at the numbers and found that Michigan has one of the fastest-growing homeless student populations in the country.

In Michigan, 43,418 students were homeless in the 2011-2012 school year, compared to 30,671 in the 2010-2011 school year:

“The state had a 42 percent increase in homeless students from two school years ago to the last one, and a 96 percent jump as compared with the 2009–10 cycle.”

The latest numbers make Michigan the 4th worst in the country when it comes to student homelessness. The green states shown here are seeing the biggest increases:

Green states have seen a 20% or more increase in student homelessness from the 2010-2011 school year to the 2011-2012 school year.
Green states have seen a 20% or more increase in student homelessness from the 2010-2011 school year to the 2011-2012 school year.
Credit Department of Education

Under federal law, school districts across the nation are required to provide resources to homeless students, like school supplies and transportation. But the high costs associated with those services means that for some cash-strapped districts, they turn a blind eye to the problem.

"There is actually a perverse disincentive to find homeless kids, if finding them means paying for transportation," Barbara Duffield, policy director for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, told the Detroit Free Press in 2011.

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom