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Homeless Student Numbers Decline But Not Enough


The number of K-12 students who are homeless in Oregon decreased last year-- but just slightly. A new report by the state Department of Education shows the youth homeless count, district by district.

The Springfield School District had 450 homeless students attending in 2017--a decrease from the year past. Eugene 4-J saw a rise in student homelessness with 864.   

The data indicates an overall *decrease of about 800 homeless students statewide. But advocates say student homelessness remains a serious problem.

“I feel as busy as ever because there’s always plenty of need,” Butera says.

Donna Butera is a Liaison for Bethel School District in Eugene. Her job is to protect the education rights of students who are in temporary housing or homeless. This equates to hands-on help like making sure a student is able to enroll without a permanent address or providing transportation to school.

Bethel’s number of homeless students decreased last year. But Butera says almost 9% of the overall student population is homeless.

“I’m glad that the numbers are down,” says Butera. “I hope that’s a good sign that people are getting into housing.”

A homeless student is defined as a child or youth who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate night time residence.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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