Group effort used to battle homelessness in school district

The Santa Rosa County School District isn’t simply trying to help the homeless students in its schools. Its goal is to break the cycle and end the problem.

“Our goal is to provide students the resources and support to graduate from high school and transition to college and a career,” said Dr. Karen Barber, the director of federal programs for the district. “If we don’t do that, we are only perpetuating the same cycle of poverty.”

The 1987 McKinney-Vento Act defines homelessness for students as individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, including children living in motels, hotels or campgrounds or in cars, parks, public spaces and abandoned buildings.

In Santa Rosa, 933 students currently fall within that definition. The number includes 40 homeless unaccompanied youth not living with a parent or guardian.

Barber said the number of homeless students is counted throughout the year and the count for this school year is likely to exceed last year when 1,703 homeless students were counted.

Read the full article in the Dec. 3 issue of Navarre Press. Click HERE to subscribe for as little as $38 per year.

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