The number of students experiencing homelessness hit another historic high for Lincoln County. During 2018-19 the school year, 1112 children and students lacked stable and adequate housing at least at some point during the school year. At least 209 students were in the category of “unsheltered” as defined by the McKinney Vento Homeless Education Act. Other categories include living in shelters and staying in motels and with other people due to economic hardship or loss of housing. According to information released November 22 by the Oregon Department of Education, the total number of students facing homelessness has risen across the state.
Lincoln County School District McKinney Vento & Foster Care Liaison and HELP Program Coordinator, Katey Townsend explains, “The numbers are more than data, they are each a child with a different story that includes unstable or inadequate housing. Ultimately, there is not enough housing for all families and children in our community. As a community, we need resources to catch up with our students’ needs that include more stable housing, emergency shelter and host homes for unaccompanied youth.”
FACTS & FIGURES: Homeless students are defined by the McKinney-Vento Act as those who lack fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. A homeless family could live in an emergency shelter or share housing with others due to loss of housing or economic hardship, stay at motels, or live in cars, parks, tents, trailers, or have substandard housing.
The state report shows that 943 homeless students in kindergarten through 12th grade were enrolled in Lincoln County School District (LCSD) during the 2018-19 school year, compared to 825 the year before. This accounts for 17% of Lincoln County’s student enrollment.
In addition, there were 169 children ages 5 and under who faced homelessness. These children were not included in the state count. This brings the total homeless child count in Lincoln County to 1112, including 137 unaccompanied minors.
Lincoln County School District continues to rank in the top 10 school districts for the highest numbers of homeless students. The recent data places LCSD in 5th place for the number of students experiencing homelessness, up from 9th place during the prior year.
UNSHELTERED STUDENTS: Out of 198 school districts, Lincoln County has the highest number of students in the category of unsheltered. In Lincoln County, 209 students were considered unsheltered and the next highest was Beaverton School District with 109 in that category. Students considered “unsheltered” under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act are “children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designated for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.” This includes students who are “living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations or similar settings.” The law also includes “trailer parks or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations.” [42 U.S.C. §11434A(2)(B)(i)(ii) (iii)].
The unsheltered definition extends to those that are in substandard housing. The Education Department provides guidance on determining the substandard nature of a living situation and school district McKinney-Vento staff use this information to make a case by case qualifications of students. Considerations are if the housing “lacks one of the fundamental utilities such as water, electricity, or heat; is infested with vermin or mold; lacks a basic functional part such as a working kitchen or a working toilet; or may present unreasonable dangers to adults, children, or persons with disabilities.” (U.S. Department of Education, 2017 Guidance, A-3, https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/160240ehcyguidance072716updated0317.pdf)
HELP IS AVAILABLE: The school district’s HELP program is designed to help all homeless students overcome barriers to school attendance and academic success. HELP stands for Homeless Education & Literacy Project. Four HELP Centers are staffed and located in Lincoln City, Newport, Toledo and Waldport with the purpose of providing resources and educational assistance to homeless youth and their families. They receive assistance with immediate school enrollment, transportation, school fees, school meals, and navigating through other community and public resources.
The HELP Centers provide school supplies, clothing, shoes, hygiene, and household items. It is with deep gratitude that we have generous community donations to fill in the gaps to address student needs. Some of the educational programs offered at the HELP Centers include an early childhood and parent program called “Learning is Fun Together” (LIFT), tutoring, life skills workshops, Job Opportunities for Youth (JOY) and family nights.
“Lincoln County has one of the highest rates of student homelessness in the state. We also have one of the most generous and caring communities that come together to support students. We need to continue to work on big-picture solutions and getting more individuals connected with our work to support students through our programs and schools.” Townsend said.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Donations of time and money are always welcome. With the holidays just around the corner, the HELP program is soliciting donations of new pajamas, underwear and socks; and new jackets. Donations are being accepted at all four HELP Centers. Online donations to the HELP Program are accepted at the following link and by selecting “Lincoln County District Office” and “HELP Program”: https://lincoln.k12.or.us/get-involved/donate/
HELP Center volunteers are needed to help deliver program activities and supplies to students throughout the school year. A volunteer training is being offered on Thursday, December 5th at 6 pm at the NHS Boone Center. Contact Jutta Pearce for more information on volunteering or to RSVP. Jutta.Pearce@lincoln.k12.or.us or 541-574-9419.
Anyone interested in learning more about the HELP program may visit the LCSD website: https://lincoln.k12.or.us/resources/family/homeless/
El número de estudiantes que experimentan falta de vivienda alcanzó otro récord histórico para el condado de Lincoln. Durante el año escolar 2018-19, 1112 niños y estudiantes carecieron de una vivienda estable y adecuada al menos en algún momento durante el año escolar. Al menos 209 estudiantes estaban en la categoría de “sin refugio” según lo definido por la Ley de Educación para Personas sin Hogar de McKinney Vento. Otras categorías incluyen vivir en refugios y alojarse en moteles y con otras personas debido a dificultades económicas o pérdida de vivienda. Según la información publicada el 22 de noviembre por el Departamento de Educación de Oregón, el número total de estudiantes que enfrentan la falta de vivienda ha aumentado en todo el estado. La Coordinadora del Programa de Ayuda y Coordinador del Programa HELP de McKinney Vento & Foster Care del Distrito Lincoln, Katey Townsend explica: “Los números son más que datos, cada uno es un niño con una historia diferente que incluye una vivienda inestable o inadecuada. En última instancia, no hay suficientes viviendas para todas las familias y niños en nuestra comunidad. Como comunidad, necesitamos recursos para ponernos al día con las necesidades de nuestros estudiantes, que incluyen viviendas más estables, refugios de emergencia y hogares de acogida para jóvenes no acompañados “. HECHOS Y CIFRAS: La Ley McKinney-Vento define a los estudiantes sin hogar como aquellos que carecen de una residencia nocturna fija, regular y adecuada. Una familia sin hogar podría vivir en un refugio de emergencia o compartir vivienda con otros debido a la pérdida de vivienda o dificultades económicas, quedarse en moteles o vivir en automóviles, parques, tiendas de campaña, remolques o tener una vivienda deficiente. El informe estatal muestra que 943 estudiantes sin hogar desde el jardín de infantes hasta el 12 ° grado se inscribieron en el Distrito Escolar del Condado de Lincoln (LCSD) durante el año escolar 2018-19, en comparación con 825 el año anterior. Esto representa el 17% de la matrícula estudiantil del condado de Lincoln. Además, había 169 niños de 5 años o menos que se encontraban sin hogar. Estos niños no fueron incluidos en el recuento estatal. Esto eleva el total de niños sin hogar en el condado de Lincoln a 1112, incluidos 137 menores no acompañados. El Distrito Escolar del Condado de Lincoln continúa clasificándose entre los 10 mejores distritos escolares para el mayor número de estudiantes sin hogar. Los datos recientes colocan a LCSD en el quinto lugar para el número de estudiantes que experimentan falta de vivienda, en comparación con el noveno lugar durante el año anterior.