Thousands of parents across the state are sending children back to school this week. One in 38 of those students are homeless.
Over the next several days, as young people across the state settle into their classrooms, we’re exploring the issue of student homelessness. In Washington state, more than 27,000 students are homeless. Some live in cars; others couch-surf or sleep in motels or shelters. Fortunately, all homeless students have rights under a federal law called the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act. Today we'll share the story of a teenager whose family lost their home, and list resources for helping homeless students exercise their rights.
The arts not only reflect our society, but also have the potential to re-shape it by raising awareness and inspiring action. We’re excited to launch “Culture Watch,” a new blog series examining how issues related to homelessness are portrayed in movies, TV series, music, visual art displays, stage plays and more. Frequent guest blogger Perry Firth, a graduate assistant at Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness, contributed this first post. After watching the movie “Eden,” filmed in Eastern Washington and based on a true story of sexual trafficking, Perry was moved to reflect on the relationship between trafficking and homelessness.
Over the past decade, data has emerged showing that our childhoods affect us more than previously thought. Not only do they affect our adult mental health, but they can also lay the groundwork for our long-term physical health. It’s all part of a fascinating framework called Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs. Perry Firth, a student at Seattle University, guest blogs for us again and uses her counseling background to look at childhood homelessness through the lens of ACEs.
When Seattle Children’s Theatre staged “Danny” last fall, it was a golden opportunity to stimulate public discussion about family homelessness in Washington state. We highlighted the play on our blog last fall and now we are excited to share an in depth discussion with the playwright of "Danny," David S. Craig, in which he offers his perspective on poverty and homelessness among children and families. Listen to the short clip below and read on to hear more.
Nine-year-old Jacques saw a play with his mom the other night. He thought it was funny and had some good action. He liked the snacks in the lobby before the show. Then he got home and started thinking about it. And it changed the way he looks at his world. “He just never thought that a kid could be without a home,” his mom, Jennifer, said.