During the 2012-2013 school year, nearly 270,000 children and youth were identified as homeless according to data recently released by the California Department of Education (CDE).
The 269,663 homeless students enrolled in California K-12 schools for the 2012-2013 school year is the highest number on record, and an eight percent increase over the previous school year. The CDE identifies homeless students according to the United States McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (the Act). A federal law intended to ensure immediate enrollment and educational stability for homeless children and youth, the Act includes all circumstances in the Housing and Urban Development definition, but also includes families who are “doubled up.” Examples of this include but are not limited to those living in a garage, multiple families living in one apartment, and “couch surfing”. Even with the extended population included in the McKinney-Vento count, experts in the field believe the number of homeless children in California is undercounted.
In relation to the country, California has the largest numbers of homeless students, followed by New York, Texas, and Florida. Thirty-four counties reported school year-to-year increases in the number of homeless students, with ten counties reporting increases of twenty percent or more. Counties with the largest increases were Santa Clara (78%), San Mateo (33%), and Sacramento (28%). Los Angeles County continues to have the greatest concentration of homeless children (more than 60,000), followed by San Bernardino (more than 33,000), Orange (more than 33,000), and Riverside (more than 22,000).