Written by LPS Homeless Outreach
Every year, Lincoln Public Schools works to service homeless and at-risk families throughout the district. In the 2016-2017 school year, Homeless Outreach served 335 students through advocacy, educational equity support, transportation, enrollment assistance, meal services and rent and utility assistance. In 2017-2018, these numbers have increased, with 311 students identified by February and counting. With 42,000 students in the district and 46% living in poverty, the Homeless Outreach Program serves an average of 500 students and their families every year.
With your generous financial support, the Homeless Outreach Program has been able to serve a wide variety of needs. Families and students at LPS have a wide variety of needs. Their stories are unique and challenging. For many families, disclosing that they are newly homeless often happens at the place they find most support and comfort: at school.
The following stories represent just a few of their unique stories. You can find additional stories on a previous Sheridan blog.
Rachel; a middle school student, moved to the People’s City Mission after her mother and siblings were evicted following a medical hardship and domestic violence. She was struggling to get to school before the school social worker realized the family was newly homeless and contacted the Homeless Outreach Program. The Homeless Outreach Program was able to support the family with transportation services, as well as coats for Rachel and her younger siblings. Rachel’s mother worked tirelessly to find new employment and start a new life for the family. Rachel’s mother worked extra hours and saved enough money for a deposit and nearly all of the first month’s rent for an apartment that met all of their needs. In partnership with other local agencies, and with the help from your funds, we were able to support her mother to pay the remaining balance of the first month’s rent. Rachel, her mother and her siblings now live comfortably in a safe, stable apartment. In addition, your donation was able to support the purchase of some small home items to alleviate the burden of purchasing new furnishings. Rachel and her siblings are all doing well in school and able to participate in after school activities, knowing they will have a safe place to return to every night.
Henry; an elementary student, and his family were displaced just before Christmas after their neighbor’s Christmas tree caught on fire, leaving the family of 6 homeless. Prior to the fire, Henry was heavily involved in after school activities and a star student. The family was housed for 3 days thanks to the support of the American Red Cross. Unfortunately, the family did not have renter’s insurance and no extra income to support the family while in transition. Thanks to the support for other local agencies and your funds, the family was able to remain in the hotel for a week, while they worked tirelessly to put their life back together. In partnership with a local housing program and the Homeless Outreach Program, the family secured a new apartment within a week. A huge feat! In addition to the hotel stay, your funds helped pay for a new bed and bedding, as well as some small items for his new bedroom.
The struggles homeless students face is far from over, but there is hope. These stories represent only a few of the families that have been impacted by your generosity. On behalf of the Homeless Outreach Program and Lincoln Public Schools, we thank you for your continued support for these vulnerable families!