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Posted on Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

Number of students struggling with homelessness grows in Washtenaw County and Michigan

By Cindy Heflin

The number of students struggling to keep up in school while their families cope with homelessness has increased dramatically in Michigan in recent years, the Detroit Free press reports, and Washtenaw County figures show a similar trend.

The percentage of homeless students is particularly high in Willow Run and Ypsilanti school districts, the figures show. In Willow Run, 7.5 percent or 120 of 1,600 students were homeless last year, meaning they had to live with relatives or friends, a shelter, hotel or motel, tent or car or had no shelter.


Volunteers help to wrap gifts and write gift cards for the more than 700 homeless youths in Washtenaw County earlier this month.

Lisa Carolin | For

In Ypsilanti, the figure was 5.89 percent or 215 of 3,652 students.

In Ann Arbor schools, there were 180 homeless students, just more than 1.1 percent.

To see figures from your school district, go to the Free Press database.

Officials from the Washtenaw County Education Project for homeless youths this fall said more than 700 youths in Washtenaw County up to age 20 have been homeless since the start of the school year. That's a 30 percent to 40 percent increase from last year, which was a 40 percent increase from the year before.

The Detroit Free Press is in the midst of a four-part series on homelessness, which is telling the stories of homeless children and their families. Read today’s installment.



Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

OK, part of the story is that some of the students keep going and do what they were sent to school to do - learn. It's a tough job market out there and will not get easier. Manufacturering will remain on the decline. It's not your Mothers apple pie. Its not your families job market anymore. Un-employed has to do what is needed to be employed no matter the compensation. Being fired feels horrible, being laid-off feels horrible, and getting back on your financial feet makes you stronger. Because not everthing is your fault; but not doing anything is your fault. Don't complain, do as John Hutchens says, and don't complain to politicians for crying out loud we elected them. Since when have we ever expected a job from a politician unless we helped getting them elected? That's a pretty smal number of job openning. Politicians run an organization designed to protect & regulate not create jobs. Help the students & their families keep their dignity and see if you can help them find a job.

johnn Hutchins

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 5 p.m.

Very well put!!!


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:22 a.m.

In the 8 years under Bush the military spent 4.2 trillion dollars not including the wars that does not include interest. He nearly tripled military spending it went from 247 billion to well over 600 a year. And the tepartiers/GOBPers whine about the debit.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:13 a.m.

Thank you, David. We are doing very well now and I'm grateful for the stability. If people want to help a student, presents, of course, are nice, but if you're looking to give time, after school tutoring, homework clubs, and mentoring programs are utilized heavily by families that are struggling. The after school homework club was a life saver for homework time/location and internet access for us.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:08 a.m.

And the teapartiers/GBPer CHEER loudly and whine "they need to get jobs!"

Neal Elyakin

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 1:29 a.m.

Here in Washtenaw County, contact the WISD to talk with the Education Project for Homeless Youth (EPHY) at 734-994-8100 ext. 1518. Enough talk, commenters, do something worthwhile. Fund a youth for the holiday; donate items, give of your time and resources. I know there are many worthwhile charities that help many people here in our community and throughout the world. The EPHY are helping right here in our county and they really need your help.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:32 a.m.

A fat lot of good that'll do yah the Gov cut the funding don't you know?

David Briegel

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 1:05 a.m.

And the "wisdom" of the TeaPublicon candidates for Pres is to "take a bath and get a job"! To a rousing applause from their fellow Americans!! Maybe that Reaganomics trickle down will help if we cut taxes for the billionaires some more. anotherannarborite, best wishes for you and your daughter!


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:13 p.m.

@ David Briegel Why is it you say we need to give everything we earn to the homeless? Oh you did not say that well never mind I don't feel the need to get the story straight. At least that seems to be your philosophy. I will at least admit it when I make an honest mistake.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

Hey David Are you sure you have your facts straight on this topic? I am still waiting for an acknowledgment of your blunder!


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:29 a.m.

I didn't say he didn't, but he was all for raising taxes on the rich.

David Briegel

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:17 a.m.

katmando, Ronnie sold the lie of "trickle down", the very philosophy that is ruining our economy as the righties cling to it like their Norquist blanket!


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:14 a.m.

Reagan was against taxcuts for the rich infact he wanted to raise their taxes.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

Why bring up only the Tea Party? The local politicians have something to do with this as well.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.

After 10 years of Depression what do you expect?


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 11:53 p.m.

I expect this number is even higher than stated. My daughter and I were homeless, staying with friends and in our van, from last December to this October. I thank God everyday for my new job. I've got an advanced degree, and am very gratefull for my $10.00/hour job. I was self-employed, so no unemployment. I was unemployed for 1 1/2 years. I never told the school because of the stigma and because I was afraid they'd make my daughter change schools. There are plenty of us out there.

Monica R-W

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 1:01 a.m.

Good to hear you have been Blessed to find a home for you and your daughter. Also, you're right...the stigmatization of homelessness, make people shamed to reveal this information. What a sad state of affairs we live within.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 12:48 a.m.

Thanks for the perspective. These numbers are likely to be in fact junk. Michigan is a repressed state. Best of luck getting all the way back in the saddle, so to speak. Many wish they could help out.

Monica R-W

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

This is so sad that in a so-called 'modern society', kids don't have a home but are expected to perform in school. God Bless each and every one of this children with a home in the new year or as soon as possible.

johnn Hutchins

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 11:21 p.m.

Rather then post a comment about how you dislike this issue... 1. Give or help out a homeless student!!! 2. Write Rick Syndar and complain!!! 3. Donate food to food banks!!! Feel free to add any good ideas below thanks!!!


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:12 a.m.

1. did that 2. A fat lot good that do yah. 3. done. Now what for 2 years and see whats happen probably another taxcut for the rich and buiness to creat jobs!


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 11:02 p.m.

800 billion for the banks & 800 billion spent on the Iraq war, nothing left for the common folks, what a shame.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 10:50 p.m.

Attention Rick Snyder!