Homeless students | Michigan Radio
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Homeless students

School kids eating meals from USDA summer program
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The pandemic is putting more families at risk for homelessness as financial pressure builds and eviction moratoriums end. Michigan already has the sixth highest rate of homeless students in the country, and many of those children rely on the consistency of walking into a physical building five days a week. Stateside talked to Jennifer Erb-Downward, a senior research associate with Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, about how schools can help students experiencing homelessness, even as classes move online.

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Today on Stateside, U.S. Senator Gary Peters joins us to talk about his plans to investigate delivery delays in the United States Postal Service. Also, a check in with a University of Michigan researcher on the impact of the pandemic on Michigan's many homeless students.

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A new referral system sends Detroit schools an automatic alert when one of its students enters a homeless shelter. Advocates say it’s a simple but critical step, because they believe Detroit is drastically undercounting the number of students who are homeless. 

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Today on Stateside, a vicious dog attack leaves Detroit residents wondering whether the city has the ability to control dangerous animals. Plus, a film festival honors the history of a West Michigan town that was once a vacation spot for black families.

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A recent report from the University of Michigan Poverty Solutions finds the state has one of the largest populations of homeless students in the country. 

The school district with the highest number of reported homeless students in the state is Kalamazoo Public Schools, the state's 13th largest district.

The district is composed of 26 schools with approximately 13,000 students. The UM report found 904 of those students reported experiencing homelessness. 

Help Bring Hope met at a summer fundraiser in 2015. Over 30 volunteers showed up to raise money for the group.
Courtesy of Lena Juratli

Helping the homeless often comes from the hands of policymakers or researchers, rather than from one young person helping another. A new Detroit-area project hopes to make that change with a group of young volunteers aiding homeless youth.

Help Bring Hope is a volunteering project founded by Lena Juratli, a recent graduate of International Academy High School. The group has a one big goal: to help every homeless kid in America, starting with Michigan.

“Is that ambitious? Yes,” Juratli told Stateside. “But do I think it’s possible? Yes.”

Children
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Who are Michigan's homeless students? And how does being homeless affect their education?

These are crucial questions for the state, as education plays an important role in homeless students' ability to escape the chains of poverty and homelessness.

Joshua Cowen is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University. He recently published a study examining these important questions. His study reveals exactly who Michigan's homeless students are and where they come from. It also reveals how homelessness affects a students performance in schools.