Homelessness Spikes in LA – Especially Among Students

(IntegrityPress.org) – NBC News Correspondent Stephanie Gosk covered how homeless students in Los Angeles are suffering from the ongoing migrant crisis as well as increases in the cost of living. Gosk cited the budget strain caused by the crisis as well as an increase in evictions as two of the main causes of student homelessness.

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said that they have over 13,000 students who lack a permanent residence. He said that the number has spiked 19% over the last year. Carvalho suggested that their data is likely incomplete, leading them to capture only “the tip of the iceberg” of the problem.

Gosk highlighted the individual story of a 14-year-old girl named Vanessa who was living in temporary housing at a hotel with her mother and 10-year-old brother. Vanessa attended school at an area high school across the street from her temporary residence, and reported that she had difficulty leaving her mother alone. She explained how her mother experienced a health scare and was hospitalized earlier in the year.

Gosk highlighted how Vanessa had to stay home to take care of her mother and younger brother during the incident. The difficult circumstances led to an inability to focus on her academics and failing most of her subjects in that first semester.

Carvalho explained that the stress experienced by students leads to poor performance which impacts teachers and their fellow students. He said that when a large percentage of the students are experiencing homelessness, more resources have to be dedicated to counseling and support programs which would otherwise be dedicated to academic excellence.

Gosk said that Los Angeles Unified has offered more after and before school programs, and additional support for parents. School officials will attempt to visit with and encourage students who have low attendance rates to show up for class.

Carvalho suggested that as someone who experienced homelessness himself, education is vital to achieving success and breaking the cycle in one’s life. He explained that he had slept under a bridge just blocks from where he ended up getting a job in Miami.

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