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Record-Breaking Numbers of Public School Students Losing Their Homes

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We live in a car. Don't just look away.Sorry, homeless children. If you’re not rich people begging for tax cuts or wildly profitable oil corporations trying to keep multi-billion-dollar subsidies, good luck getting Congress to pay any attention to you.

With the GOP-controlled House continuing to ignore the ongoing unemployment crisis, more families are becoming homeless. The New York Times reports that’s leading to a record-breaking number of public school students becoming homeless:

Nationally, the number of homeless students at public schools reached an all-time high after the recession hit. In the 2008-9 school year, there were 954,914 homeless students, compared with 679,724 in 2006-7, according to the latest data from the United States Department of Education.

Homeless children fare significantly worse in school than other poor children. In Virginia, 21.2 percent of students who are homeless at some point during their high school years drop out, compared with 14.8 percent of all poor children, the state’s Department of Education says. In Colorado, the high school graduation rate is 72 percent for all students, 59 percent for poor students and 48 percent for homeless students, according to data from the state’s education Web site.

A friend who works in child & family services says becoming homeless can destroy the support systems most parents take for granted. “I have had several clients that have had to move overnight to other parts of the state to a different homeless shelter. It’s terrible,” she says. “I try to form relationships with these young girls, but before they know it their entire life changes and they lose important constant relationships like their teacher or counselor.”

For more, check out this 60 Minutes story from March. To find volunteer opportunities to help students in your community, visit UnitedWay.org.