News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray responded to a new study showing a dramatic increase in homeless students across the country and urged support for her bill, the Educational Success for Children and Youth Without Homes Act of 2009, that would help children and youth experiencing homelessness thrive in school. The new study from the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) found that over 956,000 homeless students were enrolled in public schools during the 2008-09 school year (SY) across the country, including 21,000 in Washington state alone. This marks a 20 percent increase from SY 2007-08 and a 41 percent increase over the three-year period SY 2006-07 to SY 2008-09.

“So many children across Washington state are fighting to succeed in school despite the fact that they are homeless- and they deserve our support,” said Senator Patty Murray. “As more families across the country struggle with homelessness, more students than ever are at risk of dropping out or falling through the cracks. My bill would help these students by providing them with a stable school environment and the support to help them balance their personal struggles and their education goals. ”

The Educational Success for Children and Youth Without Homes Act of 2009, which Senator Murray introduced with Senator Al Franken (D-MN), is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and will help children and youth experiencing homelessness thrive in school, despite the constant moving, trauma, and loss often associated with their homelessness.

The legislation will promote school stability and success for homeless students by:

  • Keeping homeless children and youth in their original schools, unless the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth wishes to change schools, or unless an individualized, best interest determination by the school supports a change of schools,
  • Providing vital training and resources to school district homeless liaisons, so that they can provide much-needed support to homeless students,
  • Increasing federal funding to help assist with the costs of school transportation for homeless children, and
  • Increasing outreach and identification efforts for homeless students

Details on the Educational Success for Children and Youth Without Homes Act of 2009