12/18/2011 09:22 am ET Updated Feb 17, 2012

Michigan's Homeless Students: Foreclosure Crisis Takes Toll On 31,000 Kids

First of four parts

Like a silent epidemic, the number of homeless children in Michigan schools is growing.

In the 2010-11 school year, more than 31,000 homeless students attended school -- 8,500 more than in the previous school year, a 37% spike attributed to the weak economy, loss of jobs and the foreclosure crisis. Overall, the number of homeless students in Michigan has jumped more than 300% in the last four years. Most experts say those numbers are low because many parents are embarrassed to admit they are homeless. And many school districts lack the resources to identify these kids, as required by federal law.

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