At least 1 in 33 students enrolled in Volusia County public schools experienced homeless during the 2020-2021 school year.
That's according to preliminary figures recently distributed to organizations that work with homeless children and families by Jennifer Watley, homeless student liaison for the district.
Watley and her counterparts at school districts throughout the nation keep track of the number of homeless students, in part to ensure these children receive the services for which they are eligible under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act.
For educational purposes, families with children are considered to be homeless if, due to a loss of housing, they must live in a shelter, motel, vehicle, or campground; on the street; in abandoned buildings; or doubled-up with relatives or friends. Family Renew Community uses the same definition of homelessness for families to determine eligibility for our housing program.
The number of homeless students also includes unaccompanied minors.
Under federal law, these students have the rights to: go school, no matter where they live or how long they have lived there; continue in the school they last attended before they became homeless, if that is their choice and it is feasible; receive transportation to the school they last attended if feasible; and much more.
For a school-by-school breakdown of the 2020-2021 homeless student population, follow this link: Download File (Number of Students Classified Homeless by School of Enrollment.pdf)
For a brochure explaining the rights of homeless students and responsibilities of public school districts, follow this link: Download File (brochure.indd.pdf)