Marjorie Tenhagen, who works with homeless youth at the Shaw House in Bangor, Maine, wasn’t surprised when she heard about a new report showing a dramatic increase in the number of homeless children enrolled in school throughout the United States.
“We’ve always had a lot of homeless youth, but this has been the highest number that we’ve had,” she told Al Jazeera.
An annual report from the National Center for Homeless Education, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, found that 1.2 million students enrolled in schools across the U.S. were homeless between 2011 and 2012, a 10 percent increase from the 2010-11 school year.
The number is an all-time high for the survey, and a 72 percent increase since 2007, when the global recession began.
The data also contained some troubling facts about individual states.
In Maine and North Carolina, the number of homeless kids in K through 12th grade increased by more than 50 percent. Ten states saw increases of 20 percent or more. And only eight states saw decreases.