More than 200 Russell County students were reported as homeless last year

New reports indicate that more than 200 Russell County students were reported as homeless at some point during the 2019-2020 school year.

The report comes from the Kentucky Department of Education as part of the annual school report card.

The report shows that 239 students in the Russell County School District were reported as homeless at one point in the school year. The Kentucky Department of Education follows the same criteria for reporting student homelessness as the U.S. Department of Education.

That reporting criteria defines homeless children and youths as individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. The term includes –
• Children and youths who are:
o sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or
a similar reason (sometimes referred to as doubled-up);
o living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of
alternative adequate accommodations;
o living in emergency or transitional shelters; or abandoned in hospitals;
Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings;
Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.

Of those 239 students reported as homeless during the 2019 – 2020 school year, 112 were in elementary school, 25 were in middle school, and 102 were in high school. In total, the district reported having 2,933 students in 2019-2020.

Homelessness disproportionately affected African-American students in the district. The report indicates that there were 25 African-American students in the district during the 2019-2020 school year, and seven were reported as homeless, or approximately 28 percent.

Homelessness also disproportionately affected Hispanic/Latino students in the school district. The report shows that there were 354 Hispanic/Latino students in the school district in 2019-2020. That makes up approximately 0.1 percent of the student population.

However, of the 239 students listed as homeless, approximately 12.5 percent were Hispanic/Latino.


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Zac Oakes is the News and Sports Director for and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.