Elementary children have their basic food and housing needs met
The social safety net is broad with state and federal programs ensuring access to social goods such as access to college to health care for the elderly. The most basic of human needs are access to nutritious food and stable housing. Thriving is nearly impossible if these most basic needs are not met. Connecting as many children and families to appropriate services as possible is critical for both the family and a healthy community.
Family or caregiver economic hardship should not automatically condemn a child to failure in school. We affirm the cultural belief that education can be the key to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. But to do so, our most vulnerable children and families need support to meet their basic needs.
While each school district has a homeless student liaison to ensure these children have access to free, public education, lacking adequate or stable housing or adequate nutrition makes learning acutely difficult.
In Central Oregon there are at least 1,517 homeless children in the K-12 system, both in rural and urban areas. There are 501 homeless elementary aged children, with nearly half of those, 218, who have been homeless continuously for the past year or more.
- Feeding America. “Child Food Insecurity in Oregon by County in 2012.” Map the Meal Gap 2012, Food Insecurity Rates by State and County. Accessed February 4, 2015. http://www.feedingamerica.org /hunger-in-america/our-research/map-the-meal-gap/
- Oregon Department of Education. “2013–14 Homeless Student Data.” McKinney-Vento Data Collection Requirements and Results. http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=1976.
- McDonald, Katie. “Point-in-Time Count 2014.” NeighborImpact, Homeless Leadership Coalition,
HMIS Lead. E-mail to authors, October 30, 2014. *http://www.cohomeless.org/