Schools dealing with record number of homeless students

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Hurricane Michael creating a housing crisis that left thousands of residents homeless.

The impacts of the crisis still being felt.

But as far as the school district goes, what qualifies a student as homeless or displaced? That answer isn’t so black and white.

The law to determine a student’s housing status is known as Mckinney-Vento. By its definition is how the district determines its numbers.

“As of December the 4th, that are eligible under Mckinney-Vento is 3,155. Of that 3,000 there’s about 2,500 are in temporary situations because of the hurricane,” said Kay Daniel, Bay District Schools Homeless Liaison.

That’s the largest amount of homeless students Bay District has ever seen. Before the storm, the district had 782 homeless students.

Under the Mckinney-Vento law, there are several qualifications that can deem a student as ‘homeless’.

“If they lack a fixed regular and adequate nighttime housing. If they’re sharing housing with others because they have no other place to go. They have no other choice, they had to stay doubled up or one family offers to take them in, in essence,” said Daniel.

Other qualifications for homeless students include if they are living in a public place or vehicle, staying in a motel or hotel, or living in a substandard house, with no electricity or water.

At the beginning of the school year, every single student in Bay District Schools is required to fill out a housing questionnaire.

“This is the student housing questionnaire, every year the Mckinney-Vento Law requires that we reset our date to zero. So when I say things like there are 3000 active homeless students-that’s since August,” said Daniel.

FEMA trailers are included, which accounts for around 300 families.

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