Rate of homeless students in PA rises...and most are not in shelter

A review by People's Emergency Center (PEC) of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s report entitled Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program 2018-19 Counts by Entity indicates that Pennsylvania’s education and community agencies identified 39,221 children and youth experiencing homelessness and served by Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness (ECYEH) program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, compared to compared to 36,793 students in FY 2018.

The review, Part III of PEC’s Looking Back to Plan Ahead shows that in Philadelphia the School District identified 7,847 children and youth as homeless in FY ‘19, while a subset of that number was 2,896 children and youth identified as being in shelter. This is 37% of all children as being identified in shelter. This means that there were 4,951 homeless children and youth NOT in shelter, almost double over the number that was in shelter.

Throughout Pennsylvania, there were 8,069 children and youth identified as being in shelter, or 20.6% of all homeless children and youth, which numbered 39,221. Most children and youth experiencing homelessness – or 79.4% –are either living doubled up with friends or relatives, living in places not fit for human habitation, or living on the street.

According to the PA Department of Education’s report,

“For the 2018-19 program year, education and community agencies identified 39,221 children and youth experiencing homelessness and served by Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness (ECYEH) program (unique, unduplicated count). The population includes children under the age of five and youth enrolled in pre-K through grade 12. The unique count is based on where the child or youth was identified as homeless AND attributed to the local education agency (LEA) (school district, comprehensive technical school, or charter/cyber charter school) or entity (shelter, early intervention, pre-K program, etc.).”

Highlights

  • 8,069 children and youth were identified as being in shelter, or 20.6% of all homeless children and youth. Most students experiencing homelessness – or 79.4% –are either living doubled up with friends or relatives, living in places not fit for human habitation, or living on the street.
  • Children and youth experiencing homelessness are identified throughout the Commonwealth, including rural, suburban and urban regions.
  • School Districts and charters identifying less than 10 children are not reported separately (for privacy), although their counts are included in the total for the state.
  • Philadelphia and Pittsburgh school districts identified more than 1,000 homeless children and youth again this year.
  • Reading and Lancaster school districts identified more than 1,000 homeless students in 2018 but are now identifying fewer than one thousand students experiencing homelessness.
  • Four school districts – Allentown City, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Reading School Districts identified from 500 to 999 homeless students.
  • Thirty-nine school districts, including several charters, identified between 100 and 499 homeless students. Charter schools in this category include Insight PA Cyber, Commonwealth Charter Academy, PA Cyber, Chester Community, and Angora Cyber.

For PEC's full report, go here.


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