Area homeless students need our help


  • January 26, 2016
  • /   Randy Hammer
  • /   education,community-dashboard

Local school districts don't have the funding to help the nearly 2,000 students who don't have adequate shelter or food. Studies show homelessness
contributes to a range of other problems facing students, including physical and psychological problems, safety fears and academic struggles.

The Santa Rosa County School District averages 1,700 homeless students a year. In Escambia County, the number is more than 2,000.

The PNJ’s Thomas St. Myer has a story on the newspaper’s website that looks at the plight of homeless children who attend public schools in the Pensacola Metropolitan Area.

“Once they walk into our school doors, they’re ours,” says Santa Rosa’s Karen Barber, “and if we want them to be successful they’ve got to have a roof over their heads.”

Barber is director of federal programs for the Santa Rosa School District. She told St. Myer that the district created a benevolence fund to help homeless students pay for food and housing.

But the fund, which depends on community donations, is down to $14.

Marcia Nowlin, Escambia County School District’s Title I director, says the number of homeless students without proper housing or enough food exceeds 2,000.

It probably comes as a surprise to many people that our two-county area has nearly 4,000 homeless students in our public schools, which is why the PNJ stories are worth a read.

The PNJ story lists a few ways to help:

To donate to the Santa Rosa County School District’s benevolence program, contact Karen Barber at 983-5001 or [email protected].

To donate to the Escambia County School District Title I homeless student services program, contact Michelle Tucker at 595-6915 (ext. 267) or [email protected].