Seattle student homeless rate at all-time high

My girlfriend Leslie Hazlewood-Spur is one of several teachers who’s taking students to the streets to experience what it feels like to be homeless. 

This is no overnight field trip.

Try three days with no cash, nor any idea where you’re going next. Homeless students encounter this every day.

And now imagine going to school, tackling homework and dealing with your peers.


In this KING 5 video, you can see how Leslie’s kids deal with their second day in the Planting the Seeds” program. The Option Program at Seward (TOPS) school offers this experience to students during their 8th grade year.

A few facts to ponder as you watch:

The Seattle School Department reported 2,370 students were homeless last year.

In 2013, the Seattle School homeless student rate was up over 33% from the previous year.

CNN reported in October that the number of U.S. homeless students was also at an all-time high.

Compounding this staggering data are the growing number of communities handing out fines for feeding the homeless, essentially dissuading Good Samaritans from performing acts of kindness. (Here are a few cities where you’ll get fined or arrested for feeding a kid on the street.) 

What do these fines, laws and fees say about our societal values?  Ironically, religious organizations take the brunt of these penalties. 

I find the hypocrisy mind-boggling. 

If you’re reading this, you likely know the gateway to making it in this crazy world is having options in life. We need more funding for kids and education. And if you support the future of children, essentially our society’s future, you can start on a local level.

Check out these organizations that are doing something about student homelessness and family support. Who knows, you might change more than their lives. You might change yours.

Here are just a few organizations that offer support to children and families experiencing homelessness. I apologize in advance for any organizations I might have left out.