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Delaware looks for more ways to help homeless students

Delaware Public Media
Gov. John Carney

Gov. John Carney (D-Delaware) says Delaware needs to address the issue of homeless kids in the state.

The National Center for Homeless Education found Delaware schools served more than 3,200 homeless students in the 2015 to 2016 school year.

Homeless means not having a permanent home. Children without stable housing may have moved in with friends or family or live in a motel or shelter.

Gov. Carney said he wants to make sure social safety net agencies are working closely together to help those students succeed in school.

“The connectivity between schools, housing opportunities and shelters is really an important one and one that we’re starting to talk more and more about,” he said.

Homelessness makes students more likely to miss class, perform poorly and drop out of school. Carney said it’s a systemic social issue that costs state and the students.

“That’s not a very good conducive environment, particularly for children," he said. "So, it’s an area that I think we need to look at in particular.”

Affordable housing advocates say the state lacks housing for low-income residents. A recent Housing Alliance Delaware report cites the state as the 15th most expensive rental market in the U.S. Programs designed to help low-income residents find inexpensive housing have long waiting lists.

Advocates also argue adding more affordable housing would reduce the cost of busing homeless students to and from school. Public Education is about a third of the state’s overall budget.

The Delaware State Housing Authority is seeking about $23 million in the next budget cycle.

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