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Homeless Student Numbers Continue to Rise, Prompting Calls for Action

Homelessness is a growing problem in the United States, and it affects people from all walks of life. While some states are making strides to address the issue, others still have much work to do.

"Education without a home: a growing crisis demands urgent attention"

Homelessness is a growing problem in the United States, and it affects people from all walks of life. While some states are making strides to address the issue, others still have much work to do. In Washington state, for example, there has been an ongoing debate about how best to help alleviate student homelessness. During the 2021-2022 school year alone, Seattle Public Schools identified over 700 homeless students in their district – a staggering number that highlights just how widespread this problem is.

According to Liza Burrell, managing director of programs for Building Changes in Washington state, "homeless is homeless is homeless." Unfortunately, while this may be true when it comes to individuals experiencing homelessness themselves, there are certain federal definitions of homelessness that leave some children out in the cold. This has led some states to take matters into their own hands and develop their own definitions of what it means to be homeless.

In other parts of the country where homelessness remains an issue, such as New York City and Los Angeles County among others where people can often be seen sleeping on sidewalks or subway stations. A recent story out of Kenya also highlights the struggles faced by those living without stable housing. Nuru Okanga was recently arrested in Nairobi after being accused of several crimes including incitement and assault; he denies being homeless thanks largely due his wife's support.

However not all incidents involving those who experience homelessness are nonviolent; on Long Island in New York State a man was recently arrested for allegedly attacking another man with a machete at a laundromat located on Merrick Road. The victim suffered critical injuries but survived; meanwhile Roberto Velasquez was taken into custody by Nassau County police and charged with attempted murder and assault.

While these stories may seem disconnected at first glance – one focused on student homelessness advocacy efforts in Washington State while another covers crime against innocent victims committed by someone experiencing or accused wrongly as being part of the homeless population – they all highlight the need for more attention to be paid to this issue. Homelessness can affect anyone, and it is up to all of us to work towards finding solutions that help lift people out of poverty and provide them with safe, stable housing.

One solution that has been proposed in Washington state is a bill designed to help alleviate student homelessness. This would create a statewide definition of what it means to be homeless, ensuring that no child falls through the cracks when it comes to receiving support from their school district. While the bill has not yet passed, advocates are hopeful that it will eventually become law.

Advocates for the homeless are also working at a national level; organizations such as the National Alliance To End Homelessness (NAEH) work tirelessly towards ending homelessness in America through research and advocacy efforts. They believe that by taking a comprehensive approach – one focused on prevention, rapid rehousing, and permanent supportive housing – we can make significant progress towards ending homelessness across the country.

Of course, while government agencies and advocacy groups play an important role in addressing homelessness in America, there is also something we can each do as individuals. Whether it's volunteering at a local shelter or donating money or goods to organizations working with those experiencing homelessness - every little bit helps.

Ultimately though our society must remember what Liza Burrell said: "homeless is homeless is homeless." We cannot judge people based on their current living circumstances but instead strive towards creating systems which provide everyone with access to stable housing so they may have opportunity for economic mobility within our society without becoming victims of crime or violence themselves due solely based on lack of resources available due simply because they don't have access as others do who are more privileged socioeconomically speaking than them regardless if they're students like those identified by Seattle Public Schools experiencing lack of stability or men like Nuru Okanga who claim not being part of such group but regardless of their situation deserve fair and equitable treatment under the law.