Homeless Family Program Focuses On Keeping Kids In School | Lawrence, Kansan | Kansan
Students know the challenges of waking up for that 8 a.m. class. But some students — much younger students — understand a different struggle. These students, along with getting up early, must make their way to school from the Lawrence Community Shelter. In the morning, a group of 17 children woke up and shared two showers and two toilets along side 14 adults. After getting ready they went upstairs and waited with 40 more adults for breakfast, or walked to school and received a free meal there.
“Kids are so adaptable. The stressors we see are getting used to a new school and the stigma that may come with the label ‘shelter kid’ or ‘homeless kid,’” said Jennifer Davis, the case manager at the Lawrence Community Shelter. “Luckily, so many of them are going to the same school that they have their own support system. In the past, it would be just one new kid coming from the shelter. He or she would stand out a little bit more.”
Davis has seen a dramatic increase in family homelessness in Douglas County.
According to the Kansas Point in Time Homeless Count for Douglas County, a biannual report, the Lawrence school district counted 100 children grades K-12 who were homeless in 2009 and 149 in 2011, accounting for a 49 percent increase.