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Homelessness increases among US school children

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The number of homeless children is rising in the United States and a record number of American students enrolled in public schools were homeless last year, according to data by the US government.

Approximately1.3 million homeless children were enrolled in US schools in the 2012-2013 school year, an increase of 8 percent from the previous school year, statistics released by the US Education Department on Monday showed.

A main factor that has increased homelessness is a lack of affordable housing, forcing many families to live in the streets, shelters, motels or to double up with other families, said Jeremy Rosen, director of advocacy at the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.

“This problem continues to get worse because in terms of government programs and support for homelessness, budgets have been cut in recent years, and there’s less affordable housing available,” said Rosen.

“The new data means that a record number of kids in our schools and communities are spending restless nights in bed-bug infested motels and falling more behind in school by the day because they’re too tired and hungry to concentrate,” said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children.

The official data by the Education Department underestimates the crisis because it does not include homeless infants, toddlers and youngsters not enrolled in preschool and may also miss homeless youngsters who were not identified by school officials.

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