More kids homeless, schools say

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Grand Rapids and Holland public schools are reporting higher numbers of homeless students than last year and expect the figures to grow, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

Grand Rapids Public Schools have counted 485 homeless students so far this year, compared to 1,100 for the 2007-2008 school year, The Press reported. Holland reported having about 40 more homeless students than last year at this time.

By law, districts count students as homeless if they are living with relatives, in shelters or in hotels, Deb Feenstra, Holland's director of homeless student services, told The Press. Schools work to provide those students transportation to school and homework for missed days. Feenstra said many cases appear to be families whose homes were foreclosed.

Grand Rapids school board member Amy McGlynn said she encourages parents to tell the school district if they become homeless, so the district can refer them to potential sources of help, The Press reported.

The Grand Rapids Press, "Grand Rapids, Holland schools report growing number of homeless students," Nov. 18, 2008

Michigan Education Digest, "Educating poor students challenges teachers, poll finds," Sept. 13, 2005