At the time of this grant application, the KPBSD Students in Transition Program for Homeless Children and Youth has identified 156 students as meeting the homeless definition this school year. Of these, 49 are homeless, unaccompanied youth - those youth meeting the homeless definition and also not in the physical custody of their parent or legal guardian. The majority of these youth are teens, many couch-surfing amongst friends or family members for short stints of time.
These youth often have higher rates of absenteeism, and many are without a cell phone, They are also ineligible for programs such as Lifeline due to age restrictions (must be 18 to apply). This makes it nearly impossible to check on their general well-being or to see if supports or services are needed that may be able to get them back to school. In addition, youth have difficulty reaching out to/being reached by local community support agencies. Ultimately, we believe this barrier to communication is a safety issue.
Funded by Alaska (January 2019)