SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - An all-time high number of students were classified as homeless in the Savannah-Chatham County School District in the 2017-2018 school year.
School district officials say it’s the highest it’s been in 10 years.
“Kids probably have the most trauma sometimes with the lowest voice to be heard,” said Sharon Hill, Savannah-Chatham County School District.
The Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless says more than 1,000 students were homeless in the 2017-2018 school year. It’s a 30 percent increase from the previous year. Sharon Hill, the homeless liaison for the Savannah-Chatham County School District, is working with these students day in and day out.
“I’ve been working in this position for 12 years. I promise you, I have never heard the same story twice," she said.
Hill says there’s no way of knowing exactly why this number spiked, but three hurricanes in 2017 could be a serious reason with families moving into our area to get back on their feet. Other resources in the Coastal Empire are helping these students like America’s Second Harvest.
“I think a lot of people just don’t want to think that these problems are existing right here in our community, but they are and we see it everyday,” said Jamie Kendall, America’s Second Harvest, Coastal Georgia.
Hill says the student could be living in a motel, staying with other family temporarily, or living in an emergency shelter.
“Homelessness can be a number of different things. It could be living in a car. It could be moving from house to house, just not having that stable home environment.”
Moving from place to place is difficult on a child. Hill works to keep them in a stable classroom and school, notifying the administrators and school social workers. She advocates with different agencies to get students the resources they need to walk across that stage.
“When I go to graduations, I’m a bucket of tears, because I hear the names and I see the faces, and I know the stories behind what took place to get the students there.”
According to the district, donating school supplies or uniforms is one of the best ways to help these students.