Cal Farley's: Every school in Amarillo has a homeless population
Tue, 25 Mar 2014 03:36:05 GMT —
Only three months into 2014 and the Amarillo Independent School District (AISD) has identified more than 1,600 homeless students.
Cal Farley's hosted a poverty workshop, detailing the most recent numbers. Engagement Manager Elia Morena said homelessness can mean living in shelters to motels, and even doubled-up families. She said all point to signs of poverty.
"Right now our job is not to pin point the cause of homelessness," Morena said. "It's to listen to the people in this community to know what their needs are to better serve the homeless, especially our children."
Director of Operations, at the Maverick Boys and Girls Club, Alise Dixon said statistics no longer shock her.
"They (children) go from staying with uncles to other relatives," Dixon said. "They have no stability and that's crucial for them at such a young age, so that's what we try to provide for them."
According to Dixon more than 70 percent of the children who come through her doors qualify for free or reduced lunch.
"The younger kids, they're a little more open with it, so they'll tell you about their home situation," Dixon said. "The older kids, unfortunately they hide it a little better. So you don't really know until you start to hear them or notice that they wear the hoodie because the shirt underneath has been worm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday."
Morena said every school in AISD has a homeless population. For elementary schools: San Jacinto (100), Emerson (75), Forest Hill (56), Bivins (56), and Rogers (55) top the list.
"We try to tell them, 'Hey this is your situation, here are some things you can do to help you and to help your family get out of that situation,'" Dixon said. "We teach them about career goals and post-secondary education." Which Dixon and Morena agree is the only thing to break the homeless cycle.