Growing number of RCSD homeless students need your help

Updated: 10/08/2013 8:26 AM
Created: 10/08/2013 12:01 AM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

According to the Rochester City School District, Right now, hundreds of students are homeless. News10NBC found out it's an issue students in your school district could be facing too.

The RCSD told us today more than 757 of it's students are homeless. But last year, we're told that number was much higher.

We wanted to know if it's something other districts in our area are seeing too. A spokesperson in Greece tells us there are 134 students in this district, who qualify as homeless. West Irondequoit says it is receiving federal aid to assist 19 students who are classified as homeless.

It's shocking to think, something many people take for granted, having a home is not a reality for hundreds of students in Rochester. 

Last school year the Rochester City School District provided services for more than 2000 students who were homeless and the Associate Director of a program who helps them, expects that number to be even greater this year.

Many students come for clothing, school supplies and other needed items. Right now Elizabeth Reyes says the shelves are sparse, and funding for her program has been cut nearly in half. She heads the Homeless Education Program for the RCSD. Her clients range from three year old pre-schoolers, all the way up to young people in their early twenties.

Rochester's program has been around since 1997. Thanks to federal dollars, students and their families can come to this office on Martin Street, and sign up for a host of services, including busing, school breakfast, lunch, and snacks after school.

Reyes has run the program for the last 3 years, and says people make judgements about individuals who are homeless, but she says every situation is different.

"We had a homemaker who had been married for many years and her husband left with his income. So that's a situation where it was pretty much out of her hands, and she didn't drive, she didn't work and she asked for help. So there's all kinds of families, with all kinds of backgrounds, all kinds of situations. We've even had some families that are very ill, terminally ill and they're not able to work and they lose their job, and they lose their home and the children suffer."

Reyes says there is something the community can do to help. The program is located at 175 Martin Street. That's right
Off St. Paul and Hart Streets. You can drop off donations there. Right now Reyes says there's a great need for winter clothing for kids of all ages, hats, boots, scarves.

The best way to reach her is via email, at Elizabeth.reyes@rcsdk12.org. The office phone number is 262-8524.


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