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Study: Nearly 44,000 Children In Oklahoma Are Homeless

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Stefan Neubig
/
Flickr

Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of child homelessness in the nation, and the number of homeless children has grown, according to a report released Monday.

Oklahoma ranks fifth worst among states in the percentage of children under 18 who are homeless, according to the American Institutes for Research, a nonpartisan research group based in Washington, D.C.


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Oklahoma had 43,643 homeless children in 2012-2013, up from about 33,384 in 2010-2011, according to the report. Kentucky, New York, California and Alabama each had higher rates of child homelessness. The study defines homelessness as being without a permanent home, including those on the streets, in a shelter or temporarily living with friends or family or in a hotel.

Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state. More Oklahoma Watch content can be found at www.oklahomawatch.org.
Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state. More Oklahoma Watch content can be found at www.oklahomawatch.org

The report notes that homelessness can cause children to miss school, repeat grades and eventually drop out of school.

Child homelessness can also impact social relationships, employability as an adult and health.

Superintendent Janet Barresi said the report highlights the need for services for homeless children in Oklahoma, especially given the socio-economic challenges already facing the state.

While there are groups helping homeless students, Barresi added more resources are needed.

“Far too many parents in our state are less than a paycheck away from homelessness," she said. "As a result, an ocean of children is adrift in hopelessness and helplessness, and yet we expect them to arrive at school every day prepared to learn.

Oklahoma Watch is a non-profit organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state. Oklahoma Watch is non-partisan and strives to be balanced, fair, accurate and comprehensive. The reporting project collaborates on occasion with other news outlets. Topics of particular interest include poverty, education, health care, the young and the old, and the disadvantaged.
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