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Public schools say the number of children in U.S. preschools, and in grades K-12, grew to 1 million for the first time in the nation's history, the Department of Education said.
In the 2010-2011 school year, public schools reported that 1.065 million children are homeless, a 13% jump over the previous school year. The total does not include homeless children who are infants or toddlers.
Forty-four states saw the number of homeless students rise year-over-year during the most recent school year on record. As the nation waits to here about future housing policies, professionals in the mortgage finance industry have suggested in the past that the rising cost of rentals and issues regarding troubled credit histories could make it harder for families to recover.
States with the largest increases include Kentucky, with a 47% jump in homeless students; Michigan (a 38% jump); Mississippi (35%); Utah (47% increase); and West Virginia (a 38% jump).
If you compare today's population of homeless students to the 2006-2007 school year, the number of school-aged children without homes has grown 57% since the beginning of the recession.
Michigan alone saw the number of homeless children enrolled in public schools grow 315% in the three-year period stretching from 2008 to 2011.
"Every single county in Michigan reported homeless children and youth in its public schools," said Pam Kies-Lowe, state coordinator for homeless education at the Michigan Department of Education. "Economic conditions in the state have contributed to the problem."
Federal law requires school districts to immediately enroll homeless children and youth.
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