Homeless Kids Pose Challenge for Charities

November 28, 2011

This holiday, charities that help kids in poverty have more work to do. A million students in Arizona’s public schools qualify for free lunches, and the department of education says the number of homeless children has gone up sharply in recent years.

Administrators at the Imagine Cortez Park charter school say 95 percent of its students qualify for a free or reduced lunch. To get that free lunch, a family of three must make less than 24-thousand dollars a year. Traci Scala is a teacher at the West Phoenix school.

TRACI SCALA: It’s bad. I mean it’s gotten to the point where they have no shoes. They literally come to me with no soles on their shoes. 

Administrators say the school has a growing Burmese refugee population. Meanwhile, poverty has gotten worse as the economy flounders. Statewide, the numbers are stark. The education department counted 25-thousand homeless kids in 2009. As of last school year, that number is 20 percent higher.

CONDE ROGERS: They’re going to school in every single district in every single school, all over our county. 

Conde Rogers runs the Real Gift Foundation, a group that helps homeless kids.

CONDE ROGERS: Yes, they are living in the street, living in their cars, in a park, maybe double-tripled, quadrupled up living in a one bedroom apartment and there may be 15 people living in that apartment together. 

Rogers says donations to the charity are down by half compared to last year at this time. 

One Source, My Connection!