South Carolina school district sees homeless numbers double

Beaufort GazzettSeptember 20, 2010 

For more than two months, Heather and her three young sons moved every Sunday.

They became homeless last fall after Heather decided her family could no longer live with her mother in Yemassee.

As participants in a Family Promise of Beaufort County program, Heather and her children moved from church to church each week while she saved money and searched for permanent employment and housing.

Trying to raise children -- and educate them -- under such circumstances is a challenge, one a growing number of Beaufort County parents face during the recession.

The Beaufort County School District served 96 children who qualified as homeless under federal guidelines during the 2009-10 school year -- more than twice the number just two years before.

The district served 38 homeless students in the 2007-08 school year, said Cynthia Hayes, the district's student services officer.

Family Promise provides short-term housing for families with children. Nationally, the group has served more than 220,000 people, about 60 percent of them children.

Emily Bugay, director of Family Promise of Beaufort County, said it can be difficult for homeless children to focus in school because their basic needs aren't being met. They might not get enough sleep or food.

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