DETROIT (AP) — Michigan has seen a 66 percent rise in homeless students over four years and the state is facing the prospect of reduced federal funding to help with the problem, officials said.
The number of homeless students in the state was up to more than 37,500 in 2011-12, from about 22,600 in 2009-10, according to the state Department of Education.
In 2011, Michigan received $2.3 million in federal funds, or $40.47 per homeless student. The state is getting the same amount for 2012-13, but an expected increase in homelessness is expected to reduce the subsidy to about $21.02 per student.
The automatic reduction in the federal budget, meanwhile, is expected to cut funding by 5 percent for 2013-14, The Detroit News reported Wednesday.
Homeless students are found across the state. Among them is Erik Verdier, 13, whose bed is a mattress on the floor of the basement room he shares with his parents in a relative’s Detroit home. He’s a sixth-grade student at Centennial Middle School in South Lyon.
“I don’t tell the entire school about it,” said Erik, sitting between his parents. “I only tell people on a need-to-know basis.”
The family has lived in the basement since losing their South Lyon mobile home six months ago after getting behind on rent.
Federal regulations define homeless children as those who lack “a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.” That includes those staying in someone else’s home.