REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond School District is bracing for an influx of homeless students this month, as families settle into the second half of the school-year.
Homeless Liaison Brooke Clark says holiday breaks can often bring housing changes for families living on the financial edge. "So this year, I’ve counted about 274 students that qualify as homeless under the McKinney-Vento definition – the federal law that I work under. Last year, we saw numbers around 543, and that number tends to grow throughout the school year."
Clark explains, "We find that families, especially after the holidays, will come out and identify themselves because they’ve moved and they’ve found themselves in a new living situation. That’s really common after long weekends or holiday breaks. So, I expect that number to grow tremendously this month, then it’ll grow steadily again over the next few months as we approach the end of the school year."
Those considered homeless include students living with or without parents in cars, tents or doubled up with other families, as well as those living in area shelters. "We rely on paperwork that is inside our enrollment packets that asks families to fill it out if they’re in a transitional living situation. So, maybe if they’re doubled up living with another family, if they’re couch-surfing, staying in a shelter, out on the streets. And we also rely heavily on the FAN [Family Access Network] advocates that are in the schools and providing basic needs. They will, a lot of times, give me referrals and help me identify those families that I might have not known about."
Clark works with FAN to identify needy students and connect them with services, including transportation from area shelters to whichever Redmond school where they started the year.
To hear our full conversation with RSD Homeless Liaison Brooke Clark, visit our Podcast Page