An alarming new report has been released, which claims that the number of homeless students in Indiana is on the rise. According to the statistics, an increase of 81% has been reported in the last five years.
This has been going on since the Great Recession, with the most increase reported in the Allen, Kosciusko and Whitley counties. The data was gathered by the Indiana Youth Institute and focuses exclusively on the situation for public school students.
The new findings raise concern over the many educational challenges facing students living in dire conditions.
“Anytime you see an increase like that, there’s certainly cause for concern to hope that as many of those students as possible are getting the services they need to try to enhance their educational outcomes,” stated Indiana Youth Institute interim CEO Glenn Augustine.
Some institutions have taken initiative in helping those without a permanent address or a roof over their heads. Fort Wayne Community Schools alone provided aid and assistance services to 716 students who were experiencing homelessness last school year.
According to spokesperson Krista Stockman, these students experience homelessness in different ways. Some find refuge in homeless shelters, others are living with families kind enough to have taken them in. There are also some who wonder around from place to place, living off the charity of others and changing refuge with each passing day. And then there are those who are living on the streets.
The situation is even worse in the rural areas of the state, where there are said to be 84 homeless students per 1,000. But authorities now worry that unless something is done to help those in need, the situation will soon be prevalent among all regions, state-wide. The Indiana Youth Institute reports that there are homeless students in urban, suburban and rural areas alike.
“It really knows no geographic boundaries or population boundaries. The increase in homelessness and homeless students is everywhere,” said interim CEO Glenn Augustine.
Stockman blames the current situation on a bad economic state, with no prospects of improvement in the near-future. It all started with the economic crisis in 2008 and has continued well within the present day.
Meanwhile, the district liaison for Fort Wayne Community Schools has started a program to offer those students in need textbooks and free meals. Another bank for clothing, hygiene items and school supplies has also been set up at the request of faculty and students alike.
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