I’m proud to report that on Thursday morning, the bipartisan Homeless Students Gap Act (SB 6298) received its first hearing in the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee and was met with overwhelming support.
This bill would create a competitive grant process to evaluate and award state funds to school districts to increase identification of homeless students and the capacity of the districts to provide support for homeless students.
It’s really important that we fully understand the scope of the growing student homelessness crisis. In Washington, there are over 32,000 homeless students – nearly 1 in every classroom. 46% of these students do not graduate; 31% dropout.
There are only 200 social workers across the state designated to assist these students, many of whom have a multitude of other responsibilities. And lastly, the average amount of dollars that we are currently putting into solving this problem is between $35,000-40,000 per district.
This is simply unacceptable and I am hopeful that this bill will be a strong step towards ameliorating the crisis of student homelessness in our state.
I encourage you to watch the testimony on the bill and hear the stories from those who have been impacted most by the devastating realities of trying to earn your high school diploma without knowing where you are going to sleep every night. You can find the video linked here.
-Sen. David Frockt