Economy | Education | Oregon

More Than 20,000 Homeless Children Attend Oregon Schools

OPB | Nov. 15, 2012 12:15 a.m. | Updated: Nov. 15, 2012 5:16 a.m. | Portland

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For the second year in a row, Oregon officials found more than 20,000 children without permanent homes attending the state’s public schools. Rob Manning has more on the homeless student report released Thursday.

Four Oregon school districts: Beaverton, Portland, Medford, and Reynolds in east Multnomah County, have more than a quarter of the state’s homeless student population.

Reynolds has just over 1,000 homeless students.

Homeless liaison Molly Frye says Reynolds schools have been responding to a steadily growing homeless population.

She says as the population has grown, the stigma of homelessness has declined.

“I just had a call from a mom who was talking about how well her daughter was doing at the elementary school. And she just felt unashamed there, and felt really accepted, even in spite of being homeless. They’re living in a motel right now.”

The government definition of “homeless” includes living in motels, shelters, cars, tents, or transitional housing. But the vast majority of students are considered “homeless” because they’re doubled-up with other families.

About 80 percent of Oregon school districts report at least a few homeless kids. 

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