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Lansing School District says there are more students experiencing homelessness this year

Posted at 10:59 PM, Sep 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 15:06:40-04

LANSING, Mich. — Homelessness is a problem all over, but Lansing School District officials say they are seeing a major increase in students who are experiencing homelessness from last year.

It’s something they are working hard to combat because what’s happening outside the classroom greatly impacts a child’s success inside the classroom.

"We have never seen families in cars, and I'm concerned along with those service providers that we could lose a kid. It's gonna start getting cold this week, and so this winter if we have families in cars, we could really risk losing someone, and we don't want that to happen," Families Overcoming Rough Times (FORT) Program Coordinator Rose Taphouse said.

Last year at this time, 63 students were identified as experiencing homelessness within the Lansing School District.

So far this year, that number has surged to 236 students.

To make the problem worse, experts say real number is probably closer to 1,000.

"We have a housing crisis in Lansing," said Pastor Sean Holland.

Holland and his church, the EpiCenter of Worship, helps many families facing homelessness through their programming.

He says the pandemic made a pre-existing problem in the city even worse.

"We do not have enough affordable home units for mid-to-low-income families. As rent levels rise and salaries take a dive, it's creating those disparities," said Holland.

And finding a solution hasn't been easy.

"Some of the money coming from the federal government for housing is coming to an end. This county has spent about $52 million on housing," said Taphouse.

School district officials tell FOX 47 News they are in great need of donations for the program.

If you'd like to learn more about the FORT program, we have a link here.

Want to see more local news? Visit the FOX47News Website.

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Tianna Jenkins

12:23 PM, Jan 12, 2021

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Tianna Jenkins

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