SEATTLE -- Nearly 41,000 students in Washington state are considered to be homeless according to new numbers just released by the state superintendent of public instruction.
About one in every 25 K-12 students is experiencing homelessness in this state.
“It’s extremely high. and it's extremely heartbreaking to hear that so many children have to go through this tragedy,”said Natasha Hearn, a single mother of three students.
“They are in first grade, fourth grade and seventh grade,” said Hearn.
They're homeless but getting by thanks to Mary's Place Family Center.
“I don't think any student anywhere would want to be homeless and have to go to school knowing they have nowhere to sleep at night, don't know where their next meal is going to be. Definitely hard,” said Hearn.
According to the state superintendent, nearly 41,000 students in our state were homeless during the 2016-2017 school year.
“Some of them live with families, couch surfing from place to place. Some are living under bridges. Some are living in our shelters,” said Melinda Giovengo, the CEO of YouthCare.
“I was living in a shelter,” said Sierra Phillps.
The 22-year-old first became homeless at the age of 16.
“When I became homeless, I was not able to continue to go to school. I tried,” said Phillips.
Phillips says left the shelter, spent some time on the streets. But with help from YouthCare, Phillips got a GED and now works part time, while going to college.
The new numbers of homeless students in the state are at an all-time high.
The state is working to keep these kids in classes and gets almost $1 million to do that.
But with nearly 4,300 homeless students just in Seattle Public Schools, the numbers are tough to take in.
“That just really speaks to how many people are displaced to the rise of cost out here,” said Sierra.
“It’s definitely hard, definitely hard seeing people out here that are struggling,” said Natessa Hearn.
This is the ninth year in a row that the homeless student numbers have grown. Seattle Public Schools have the largest number of homeless students right now, followed by the Highline and Everett districts.