Report Reveals Increase In Homelessness Among Students In Pennsylvania

A new report is showing an increase in student homelessness across Pennsylvania.

Video Transcript

- A new report is showing an increase in student homelessness across Pennsylvania. And what's most concerning is that it may get worse due to the pandemic. Jessica Guay found out that homeless shelters in Pittsburgh are feeling the effects.

JESSICA GUAY: New, troubling research shows more students in Pennsylvania are becoming homeless, and COVID-19 isn't helping.

ANNA SHAW-AMOAH: There is rising rural homelessness, and homelessness among every student group.

JESSICA GUAY: The report by Research For Action found over 31,000, or 1.8% of K through 12 students, were experiencing homelessness in 2018-2019. Also that [? PA ?] schools underidentify, and the pandemic will make it even more difficult.

ANNA SHAW-AMOAH: Schools within the Pennsylvania Department of Education are not identifying and providing the necessary supports to students who live in temporary housing.

JESSICA GUAY: Bethlehem Haven in Pittsburgh provides shelter and supportive services to homeless women. Executive Director Annette Fetchko says they are seeing a rise for all ages.

ANNETTE FETCHKO: It's really an increase in all-- all populations across the female gender spectrum are experiencing homelessness, many of them for the first time. That's an-- that in itself is very traumatic.

JESSICA GUAY: The largest increase-- women 50 and older who are losing their jobs. These uncertain times may push more families with children to the point where it's hard to make ends meet.

ANNETTE FETCHKO: In your childhood years, if you experience homelessness, it's likely that that experience is going to then move forward as you age.

JESSICA GUAY: So what could help?

ANNA SHAW-AMOAH: The state really needs to direct the attention and the funds to supporting [? LEAs ?] in fulfilling their obligation.

ANNETTE FETCHKO: Access to, really, mental health supportive services, counseling services so that they're able to get real [? in ?] [? time ?] support.

JESSICA GUAY: Jessica Guay, KDKA News.