By Anne Williams
Appeared in print: Saturday, Sep 19, 2009
A report from the Oregon Department of Education on Friday offers yet more evidence of the recession’s toll on Oregon families.
The number of homeless students attending Oregon public schools surged to more than 18,000 in the 2008-09 school year, up 14 percent over the previous year and 122 percent over 2003-04, the first year the state took a count.
Numbers climbed in most Lane County districts, too, though the countywide increase in the number of students who were homeless at some point during the school year rose just over 7 percent. The Eugene district saw bigger growth, though, counting nearly 18 percent more homeless students — 743 — than the previous year.
“For this year, the causes are fairly obvious,” department spokesman Jake Weigler said, citing Oregon’s rising foreclosure rates and higher-than-average unemployment.