Lansing School District helps families affected by homelessness
LANSING, Michigan – The organizers of a Lansing School District program that ensures homeless children have what they need to thrive in school say the pandemic is attracting families who have never needed help before .
Kassandrah Williams looks after eight children. She recently went through a difficult phase.
“We overcame a number of challenges. Home is changing. We really needed help, “said Williams.
Williams is not alone.
On average, the Lansing School District’s Families Overcoming Rough Times (FORT) program helps over 500 students per year.
“In a typical school year we will identify about 600 homeless students within the district and about 1100 nationwide,” said FORT coordinator Rose Taphouse.
She says the faces of those who need help are changing.
“We see a different need. We are seeing some families for the first time who are unstable with their home, “said Taphouse.
Taphouse used to work as a truancy officer and saw firsthand the impact of homelessness on students.
“Our homeless students who experience this homeless situation are four times more traumatized than their classmates. We know what trauma can do to our children. How this can affect their presence, behavior and academics, “Taphouse said.
According to Taphouse, there are many opportunities for families in need to avail of the program’s services.
Williams says someone from the program called her and offered her help.
“School supplies, accommodation, transportation. They call it. Whatever my needs were met, “Williams said gratefully.
The program aims to remove barriers and challenges that make it difficult to succeed in school.
Williams says she is grateful for the help and encourage anyone who needs it to reach out to FORT.
“I would suggest that other families can turn to the Lansing School District,” Williams said.
Williams says her family is currently in temporary housing, but FORT is working on moving them to permanent housing.
You can learn more about the FORT program
Would you like to see more local news? Visit the FOX47News website.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
Sign up for newsletters sent to your inbox via email.
Choose from these options: Neighborhood News, Breaking News, Storms, School Closures, Daily Headlines, and Daily Forecasts.
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook