Student Homelessness in Rural Polk County

Per school year, 213 students experienced homelessness in rural Polk County on average for the school years 2018-2022. 191 of them experienced homelessness with their families and 19 of them were unaccompanied youth. 

Click here to view the “Student Homelessness in Rural Polk County” data.

These data are gathered and reported by the McKinney-Vento liaisons in each school district and are posted on the Oregon Department of Education website. The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal act that helps students experiencing homelessness by decreasing barriers in education. Each school district has a McKinney-Vento liaison who works with students and families in the district who are experiencing homelessness. 

The McKinney-Vento program defines homelessness as “lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.” This can include students who are living in any of the following situations:

  • Shelters/Transitional Housing
  • Hotels/Motels
  • Doubling up or Couch surfing
  • Unsheltered 

In rural Polk County, the majority of students who have been served by the McKinney-Vento program are doubling up or couch surfing. This means they are staying with others due to loss of housing or economic hardship. In 2021-22, 24.6% of the students were experiencing unsheltered homelessness. This includes staying in cars, parks, camps, RVs without hook-ups, or bus stations. This is a higher percentage than in previous years. It is also a higher percentage than in Salem-Keizer schools that year (8% unsheltered).

The McKinney-Vento Act outlines specific accommodations school districts must make for students experiencing homelessness. For example, if a student experiencing homelessness lacks documents required for school enrollment, a McKinney-Vento liaison will help waive that requirement. Or if a student moves into transitional housing across town, the McKinney-Vento liaison will help arrange for free bus transportation so the student can keep attending the same school (called their “school of origin”).

As students head back to school this week, here’s a shout out to the amazing McKinney-Vento liaisons in the Polk County schools! Thank you for your dedication.

Additional Information:

Click Here for information about McKinney-Vento Act

Click Here for data about students served by the McKinney-Vento program in Oregon schools and contact info for McKinney-Vento liaisons by County.

1407 Monmouth Independence Hwy,
Monmouth, OR 97361

(503) 751-1644

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