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Number of homeless students in Whatcom County climbs

Nearly 1,000 Whatcom County students were homeless during the 2015-16 school year, an increase of about 15 percent from the year before, according to new data from the state superintendent’s office.

Statewide, nearly 40,000 Washington students were homeless in the 2015-16 school year, an increase of about 12 percent from the year before.

Students experiencing homelessness are more likely to drop out of school, have higher absentee rates and typically score lower on state tests, the state superintendent’s office said

Under the federal McKinney-Vento Act, a student is considered homeless if he or she lacks a regular and adequate place to sleep at night. That could mean students who sleep in a shelter, in a car or park, a motel or hotel – or “doubled up,” which means they slept in someone else’s home. About three out of four homeless students statewide were “doubled up” last year.

The state receives about $950,000 each year from the U.S. Department of Education to pay for homeless students’ transportation, tutoring and school supplies.

District

Doubled up

Hotels/motels

Shelters

Unsheltered

Total

Bellingham

326

52

146

35

559

Blaine

37

10

<10

<10

54

Ferndale

107

10

17

16

150

Lynden

41

N<10

15

<10

61

Meridian

29

0

<10

<10

38

Mount Baker

51

N<10

<10

<10

68

Nooksack Valley

30

N<10

<10

0

51

Total

621

72

178

51

981

“N<10” refers to data that has been suppressed because the total is fewer than 10 students.

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