By Sarafina J Nimely – Draw a picture of a homeless person in your head. Are you picturing a man downtown with a sign begging for money or food? You’re correct, but that’s not the typical story of the homeless population that you see everyday. You may never know but some of the students that you walk by through the hallways, or sit with you in class, may be the ones that are homeless.
Homelessness, by definition, is when you don’t have a consistent living place or none at all.
Many students become homeless for number of reasons, but the number one reason for homeless students and families, according to LPS District Outreach Specialist Bryan Seck, is domestic violence.
He explains that when women (mostly) leave that violence with their children their budget disappears or drops. That leaves her poor and homeless. Where Seck and 5 other youth development team members come in is to talk and listen to their problems.
There’s really not much they could do but direct them to other resources and then follow up. Fortunately there are resources out there. Last school year LPS had 493 students in the district who were homeless. This year so far there are only 250 with the possibility of more at the end of the school year, Seck Said.
This issue doesn’t come up a lot amongst us students, but it doesn’t mean that the adults around us aren’t doing anything.Teachers and counselors collaborate with other agencies to help find the best possible resources for that students and families. What we as students can do is lend a ear and just listen and be kind. One of the first signs of homelessness is a change of behavior. “The student and family are both experiencing trauma,” Seck said. So being kind goes along way.
Some places that you can turn a friend and their families to shelters such as The People’s City Mission, The Friendship Home, Voices of Hope, or Cedars Shelter. There’s something for everyone. Finding the right one just takes a couple people to talk to.
Things that our student body could do now or anytime is start off by donating your time and volunteering at agency such as people’s city Mission, Food Bank, or Center for People In Need.Another thing you could do if you didn’t have too much time to give is to donate money or food to some of these organizations. Need more place well there’s plenty more at the Homeless Coalition. Also right here at our own school there is a food market, where two Wednesday of the month you can go and volunteer to help give students food for their household. Something that goes on all year is the Clothing Closet.
In there there are numerous amount of clothes such as pants, shirts,coats, glove, and shoes for those that are less fortunate. Spread the news and it can reach someone in need.
Homeless Persons 2007-2015