Richmond County schools release new stats for homeless kids

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 6:29 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The number of homeless kids in Richmond County schools has jumped more than 25 percent since last school year.

The district released the numbers highlighting homeless services provided by their community partners.

Last school year, our I-TEAM exposed that while the homeless population increased, homeless kids in the classroom decreased by more than 65 percent.

In the first 10 days of school, the district has identified 344 homeless kids. This time last year, that number was 273.

Among the partners at the news conference, the Salvation Army’s spokesperson tells us the district has stepped it up since last school year, calling every day to the shelter to make sure the kids there get to school.

However, we uncovered other problems, the homeless liaison was out of the office for several weeks, and some families in motels could not get a hold of anyone to arrange transportation for their kids to get to school.

Since our report, the students now have a ride.

We asked the spokesperson for an update on transportation for homeless students Tuesday.

“We have one to two dedicated. Actually, we have two dedicated homeless bus routes, for example. But in that instance, the van that we’re in the process of acquiring or procuring would be more ideal than a bus route. So we are working to make sure that those families have alternative transportation,” said Chief Public Relations Office, Lynthia Ross.

Board members voted to buy a van to transport the growing number of homeless kids in our area to school this past spring but have not yet gone through procurement. The district is providing gas cards and taxi vouchers in the meantime.

By law, each school district must provide homeless students with equal access to a public education, which they receive federal tax dollars to make happen.