What options do homeless teens have?Posted: Updated:
RICHLAND, Wash.--What options do homeless teens have? Hundreds of children don't have a home in Tri-Cities. Richland Assistant Superintendent Mike Hansen says "for our purposes in the school district. It applies to kids that don't have a fixed regular adequate night time residence to stay at."
Homeless Liaison from Kennewick Schools Christina Socwell says "we have a good population in foster care. When the families are doubled up, they're usually doubled up with other family members or close friends."
Half of these students are in grade school and the other half are high schoolers. School districts have fliers up all over schools and areas where homeless kids may stay, telling them where to get help. Hansen says "counselors are big in helping us identify kids in local schools for the McKinney-Vento resources." Academic performance tends to be much lower for students in transitional living situations.
School administrators and counselors provide extra resources to students through the free and reduced lunch system. They also help with school supplies and transportation needs to keep the kids in school. Hansen says "we provide bus passes that may be the way that we provide the transportation. There's a variety of ways we can secure transportation for kids."
About half of the students who need help are in foster care. The others tend to live with friends or other family members. Socwell says "there is a need in Tri-Cities for more shelters and more safe places for these teens."
Until now, there hasn't been a shelter open for students to stay overnight. Wednesday night at My Friends Place in Kennewick will be the first night teens between 13 and 17 can stay at the shelter, if they have no where else to go. My friends place is located at 1112 North Grant Place.