The number of Idaho public school students experiencing homelessness has grown by 64 percent over seven years, according to a report by the Idaho Asset Building Network.
The report states that 2.6 percent of Idaho’s public school students qualified as homeless last year, compared to 1.6 percent in 2010. The group’s report is based on figures from the state Department of Education.
About 7,800 Idaho students reported that they lacked a “fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence” in the 2017-18 school year, compared to about 4,700 in 2010-11, the Idaho Press reported August 29.
“Rents have risen out of proportion with wages over many years, causing more and more families and students to double up with other families, live in motels and hotels, or live unsheltered,” said Alejandra Cerna Rios, policy analyst at the Idaho Asset Building Network. “Critical investments that help every family live in safe, affordable homes are on the way, but more must be done to curb the rise in schoolchildren experiencing homelessness.”
More than two-thirds of the increase occurred between 2010-11 and 2011-12, when the number of homeless Idaho students rose by 47 percent, said Kris Rodine, a spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Education.
The rate of students experiencing homelessness has “stabilized somewhat” in the past three years, she said.
The group found that the issue exists in both rural and urban Idaho school districts.
At least 15 percent of students in three rural districts in Clark County, Craigmont and Lapwai are experiencing homelessness.
The Boise School District had 764 students who identified as homeless in the 2017-18 school year, fewer than the 799 it had in 2010-11.
It had more than 900 reportedly homeless students in the 2014-15 school year.
Caldwell’s figures more than doubled over seven years.