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Vista School District Sees Rise in Homeless Student Enrollment

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Aired 4/19/09

Vista Unified School District enrolled more homeless students in the first few months of the school year compared to the year before. Researchers say school districts across the country are experiencing the same thing. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

A non-profit group called First Focus surveyed 1,700 public school districts. Researchers found one in five of those districts -- including Vista Unified -- enrolled more homeless students in the first few months of this school year compared to the previous academic year.

Researchers say the country's money problems, home foreclosure issues, and lack of shelter space are to blame.

Joel Garica is a homeless advocate in San Diego. He's concerned because homeless kids are at greater risk of dropping out of school.   

Garcia: They're moving a lot of times from one hotel to another. Maybe staying at different places with friends. The biggest priority for them is trying to put a roof over their head and a meal.

First Focus wants Congress to bolster homeless prevention programs in the country and expand subsidized housing.

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.

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