Below is in an excerpt of an article published in the Rutland Herald discussing the increase in homeless children throughout the state of Vermont:
While the recession is officially over, many of its effects continue to be felt in Vermont, where rates of homeless families continue to rise.
For children of homeless families, continuing their K-12 educations can be an extraordinary challenge as they sometimes face long commutes while struggling with a chaotic life outside school that can involve children bouncing from a home to a hotel, shelter or outdoors.
According to annual data collected from school districts and supervisory unions by the Agency of Education, the number of homeless children in Vermont has risen 46 percent during the past five years, from 784 in 2010 to 1,145 in 2014.
Under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act — which guarantees education for homeless children — homelessness can be defined as living in a shelter, doubled up with another family, living in a hotel or unsheltered.
The law also counts “unaccompanied minors” — teens who have fled their homes and are staying with friends or families of friends.
“It’s been growing, not exponentially, but we get spikes,” said Mike Mulcahy, former state coordinator for homeless education for the Agency of Education and currently an interagency coordinator who works with the Department of Health and Department for Children and Families.
“When economies go down, homelessness goes up,” said Mulcahy, who also noted a spike in homeless youth following Tropical Storm Irene, when the number of homeless youth jumped from 915 in 2011 to 1,202 in 2012.
“It created a real surge in the number of students who became homeless,” Mulcahy said. “One school district went from five homeless students to 55 homeless students.”
To read the entire article click here.