Mark Eichenlaub, Homeless Education Coordinator, 618-825-3946, firstname.lastname@example.org
The ROE Homeless Program strives to ensure homeless children and youth have equal access to the same public and preschool programs and housed students. Hundreds of children and youth in St. Clair County do not have a home of their own. Their parent, guardian or caregiver is in a situation that does not afford them access to permanent housing. Homeless teens, or unaccompanied youth, often “couch surf” living apart from their parents or guardians in many times unstable or inadequate living situations.
In St. Clair County, most of these students live doubled-up with family or friends, oftentimes moving from place to place. Other families with housing crisis are living in motels, campgrounds, automobiles or some other arrangements. Consistent attendance at school can be extremely challenging unless the family and school are in constant communication about the transitional living situation. Parents and someone on school staff that the family feels comfortable with must talk regularly to ensure the parent, guardian, caregiver, and/or student receives appropriate educational services and are aware of the rights children and youth in homeless situations. Furthermore, schools can identify needs of the homeless child or youth and provide possible resources or referral to the ROE homeless education coordinator.