CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The total number of homeless public school students in West Virginia has increased by nearly 1,000 students since the 2017-18 school year.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports state Department of Education data for the 2018-19 school year says there are now about 10,500 homeless students across the state. Homeless students are those who don't have a regular and adequate nighttime residence.

Rebecca Derenge is the state's coordinator for the federal law guiding how to count homeless students. She says the increase has several factors, including opioids and a flood that hit the state three years ago.

The data says about 87% of homeless students are living with family or friends due to economic hardship. While the overall number of homeless students increased in the past year, 16 counties reported a decrease.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.

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