HOMELESS HURTING: School districts in Montana are trying to assist students.
By Josh Kaib | WatchdogWire.com
Montana had the largest increase in student homelessness among the states for the 2012-2013 school year, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education.
The report cites a 45 percent increase in homelessness, which in real terms means over 2,500 students are classified as homeless.
Anna Edwards, family-school services coordinator with Bozeman Public Schools, spoke with ABC-Fox Montana about the situation.
“I know that we have seen in the last few years, and I think it is for a variety of reasons, an increase in the number of students we identify as homeless,” said Edwards.
Just last year, Edwards says the school district identified over a hundred students as homeless.
Edwards said, “We identify students that are currently homeless so we can support them in giving them education opportunities.”
Students being helped by that program receive clothes and other basic necessities, like food through the school lunch program, at no cost to them.
But many students who may need assistance aren’t getting it because of government inefficiency. A patchwork of programs exists, each with its own qualifications, according to Beartooth NBC, which reports that “77 (percent) of Montana children are not always eligible for housing and homelessness assistance, due to differences in definitions of ‘homelessness’ across government agencies.”