The Columbian | November 15, 2023
A new study released last month shows a majority of Clark County’s homeless students are students of color.
The report, by nonprofit Building Changes, is based on school-level data and fed from Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Out of the nearly 3,000 students who experienced homelessness last year in Clark County, 55 percent (1,646) were students of color.
Across the state, nearly 40,000 students experienced housing instability last year — enough to fill up more than half of Lumen Field stadium in Seattle. Washington has the sixth largest number of homeless students in the United States, according to the report.
…Out of the 1,206 Vancouver Public Schools students experiencing homelessness last year, 63 percent were students of color, according to the report.
In Evergreen, 58 percent of the 1,189 students experiencing homelessness last year were students of color. Battle Ground students of color make up 30 percent (about 70) of the 235 unhoused students, the report states.
Sunny Wonder, deputy director of Council for the Homeless, said there are various factors that play into students of color experiencing homelessness at greater rates in our community.
…Leading housing agencies, such as Council for the Homeless, partner with Clark County school districts to alleviate childhood and family homelessness.
The Homeless Student Stability Program and the Washington Youth and Families Fund are statewide programs that financially assist communities in helping alleviate youth homelessness. The program funds grants to school districts and local agencies to help support youth and families experiencing homelessness.
…“One of the things in our work in education is … to make sure that the students are stable, they’re safe and whole so that they can thrive,” Zavala said. “If we don’t provide that solid foundation at the outset, things are just going to cascade from there, and the issue will only get worse.”