Student Homelessness

Schoolhouse Washington

More than 40,000 K-12 students in Washington state experienced homelessness during the 2017-18 academic year—a total almost twice that of 10 years ago

Traumas associated with being homeless have harmful effects on a student’s ability to succeed at school. Compounding matters, students are confronted with a variety of obstacles in and out of school that hinder their efforts toward success—barriers that are outside of their control and often a direct consequence of not having a home.

Schoolhouse Washington is a Building Changes project to improve housing stability and advance educational success for students experiencing homelessness in our state. We communicate the urgency of student homelessness to practitioners and policymakers and develop strategies that school districts and communities can adopt to better meet the needs of students experiencing homelessness.

Our most recent Schoolhouse Washington analysis of statewide student homelessness data found that:

  • Academic outcomes for students experiencing homelessness lag behind those of students who are housed in all measures, ranging from English language arts and mathematics proficiency to on-time graduation.
  • Student homelessness is a statewide issue, with the highest per-capita rate of students experiencing homelessness in rural communities. 
  • More than 60% of all students experiencing homelessness are students of color.
  • Three of every four students experiencing homelessness are in doubled-up situations (staying with others due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason).
  • Students experiencing homelessness who live doubled-up have similarly poor academic outcomes as those living unsheltered, in shelters, or in hotels/motels.

To view localized student homelessness data broken down by school district, legislative district, and county, search our Schoolhouse Washington data dashboards