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Mesquite ISD Program Assists Homeless Students

School district says economy affected number of students getting assistance

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    School districts across North Texas are working to make sure homeless students get support.

    Mesquite Independent School District works with 356 homeless students, a number that has gone up since last year. More middle-class families are enrolling in the program with the downturn of the economy.

    "The economy has played a huge part of it,” said Jennifer Hulme, from Homeless Student Services. “We have families who are experiencing poverty and subsequent homelessness that two years ago had a job. We have homeless mothers and fathers who have degrees."

    Jennifer, who only wanted to be identified by her first name, said she was recently laid off and now calls a hotel home.

    “I didn't want people to judge me," she said. "I didn't want my kids to feel embarrassed, my family to feel embarrassed. These situations happen.”

    Jennifer is looking for work and her family qualified for the district’s homeless program this school year.

    The district uses federal and community funding to pay for school supplies, tutors, clothes and meals in effort to help children just stay focused on school.

    "It's just given, that you're going to go school, you're going to have the things you need, then we can help change that pattern,” Hulme said.

    The district used to set aside about $8,000 for the homeless program, but those funds continue to run out. This year they’re planning on putting aside about $20,000 to cover the growing need.