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Today is 09.24.2016

Homeless In High School: Meet Jake | Tomah, Wisconsin | WXOW ABC 19

When you think of the homelessness, you probably think of it happening in big cities like Milwaukee, Madison, and Racine. Its a growing problem in every Wisconsin city, big and small, especially among families with children.

The Department of Education requires each Wisconsin school district to assign one staff member to be a homeless liaison. WXOW called our local liaisons and here’s what we found: There are 22 homeless students enrolled in the Sparta School District, 30 in the Viroqua School District, and 70 in the La Crosse School District. But the district with the largest homeless population by far is Tomah, where as of last week, 93 homeless students were enrolled.

The homeless students in Tomah don’t stick out from among their peers with homes. Many are suffering in silence. One of them is Jake. The high school senior, like so many of his classmates, has no where to go.

16 hours and 49 minutes: the amount of time that passes between the end of one school day and the beginning of the next. Time many of the kids in this Tomah classroom have no where to go. Jake is one of them.

“Not too many people know about it,” Jake said.

Social status is everything in high school so Jake asked us not to show his face or use his real name. The high school senior is one close to 100 homeless students enrolled in the district. There are more homeless students than there are kids on the football team.

“We have never seen numbers like this.” Director of Pupil Services Paul Skofronick blames the economy. “It’s hurting all of us without a doubt, but the kids are being affected because they don’t know why.”

The homeless in Tomah are hidden. They don’t live on the street; instead they sleep in their cars, at camp ground, or on a friend’s couch.

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via WXOW ABC 19