Number of homeless children in Madison schools continues steep climb

Pat Schneider:

That’s the number of students in the Madison Metropolitan School District identified as homeless seven weeks into the 2013-14 school year. The count is on a pace to continue record-setting numbers of homeless children over the past decade, say school officials.
The number of homeless children and youth in the school district has climbed more than 2-1/2 times since the 2004-2005 school year, from 485 to 1,263 in the 2012-2013 school year, according to district statistics.
“We’re learning more and more that the trauma created by having to go through homelessness stays with them the rest of their lives,” Amy Noble, a social worker with the school district, told participants at Homelessness in Dane County, a summit hosted Tuesday by Leadership Greater Madison.
The number of students in families who are homeless rises over the course of the school year as families lose housing and students’ circumstances are recognized by school personnel. The count, under federal law, includes children whose families are doubled up for economic reasons, a common circumstance for low-income families not included in most other calculations of the homeless population.