There Are About 1,700 Homeless Students In Guilford County

12:58 AM, Dec 2, 2011   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- They may sit next to your child at school. They don't necessarily study at the kitchen table or at a desk in their bedroom. They are the homeless students that attend Triad schools.

There are currently about 1,700 homeless children in Guilford County Schools. Last year there were more than 2,000.

"There's never a day that goes by that we don't get another homeless student," said Susan Eubanks, GCS Homeless Liaison. "We probably average about 20 new students a week. Some weeks it's more, some weeks it's less."

Eubanks said GCS is receiving about $275,000 in federal money this year to assist homeless students. The district provides services and items including hygiene items, school clothing and supplies, after-school tutoring, summer camps, and works with parents to come up with a transportation plan.

"When you say homeless you think of the people under the bridge, sleeping in their cars and things like that, but it's not just that," said Eubanks, who prefers to call them "students in transition" or students "experiencing homelessness."

Gia Murphy and her two kids, who attend Page High School, are an example of that.

"When I got laid off I didn't have anything saved so I really didn't have the money to pay the rent," said Murphy.

They moved to a few different shelters and now live in an apartment through a transitional housing program.

"At the end of two years if you don't have anywhere to go, you're either back to the shelter or you're on the streets," she said.

Her 15-year-old daughter, Lineshia, said, "I feel at home."

Rochelle Barnes is another mom trying to find a permanent place for her two kids. She moved to Greensboro about a month ago with her 16 year-old son and 12 year-old daughter. They are currently staying at a Salvation Army shelter.

"I fell into some hard times," said Barnes.

Her son, Darren Wilber, said, "It's a place to sleep and get food so it's something. It's better than being out on the street."

Barnes and Murphy are two moms trying to be strong for their kids, but it's the kids who may surprise you.

"Doesn't really bother me much actually. Life's hard and you got to get through it," said Darren, who attends Grimsley High School.

"It really doesn't have an effect on me in some type of way because I'm old enough to deal with it," said Lineshia.

Barnes is looking for work and eager to offer something more to her kids.

"I just want to be independently stable for my kids. That's all," she said.

Murphy is working part time and studying culinary arts at GTCC with ambitions of one day owning her own restaurant.

She said, "I'm trying to do whatever it takes to get permanent housing for them."

Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools has about 400 homeless children. Alamance-Burlington Schools has 365 homeless students. Davidson County Schools reports 43 homeless students.

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