Homelessness in general increased modestly in the United States in 2018, the second increase in two years. On a single night in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 552,830 people were found to be experiencing homelessness in the United States.
There were 38,823 homeless children in Pennsylvania during the 2017-2018 school year. And, according to the People’s Emergency Center (PEC), the data show that the number is only increasing.
According to PEC, the total represents the greatest number of homeless children ever in the state. But — here’s the surprise — the Philadelphia region, with 7,112 children and youth identified as homeless, is not the region with the highest number.
That dubious honor belongs to Region 2, which encompasses Chester, Lancaster, Lebanon, Berks, Dauphin and Schuylkill counties, with 8,937 children and youth identified as homeless. Three district schools in Chester County and one cyber charter serving it are singled out as having more than 100 homeless children and youths in each.
The count summary, which tracks children and youth from 5 to 18 years old, was released in February by the West Philadelphia organization that provides services to to homeless women and children. It uses data from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that is “based on where the child or youth was identified as homeless and attributed to the entity (shelter, early intervention, pre-K program, etc.) or local education agency,” including school districts, charters or cyber schools, and technical schools.”
Generocity is taking a closer look at the suburban counties around Philadelphia this March as part of our editorial calendar, so in addition to noting Chester County’s homeless student count, we noted the counts from Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery as well. All three are part of the report’s Region 8, with a total of 4,809 homeless children. Two Bucks and three Montgomery County school districts are listed as having more than 100 homeless children and youths, as is one Delaware County school district, and one charter school.