SCS sees increase in homeless students; some fear the trend will continue due to COVID-19

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools had nearly 2,000 homeless students last school year.

More and more families risk getting put out of their homes now that Americans are no longer protected by the federal ban on evictions.

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This could really impact children as districts move to virtual learning this fall.

A single mother with a six-year-old, first-grader within SCS said she feared she and her daughter would end up on the streets.

That was why she asked districts to help struggling parents.

Hundreds of thousands of families struggled because the rent was due the first of the month.

Related: SCS virtual classes bring added challenge for some parents who work full-time

Chasity Smith said she was laid off during COVID-19 won’t be able to pay the rent.

Smith said she hadn’t received an eviction notice.

“I continually talk to them,” Smith said. “She tell me ‘it’s only so much that we can do, after a certain amount of time it’s going to be out of our hands'.”

Being put out on the streets was something she thought about daily.

A spokeswoman for SCS said there were 1,940 homeless or unaccompanied students.

Related: SCS parents can pick up digital devices starting Monday

That’s up nearly 600 from 2018.

“It really makes me sad because I could become potentially one of those cases,” Smith said.

If that happens, Smith’s daughter would get behind since the district is going to virtual learning.

Each year, SCS provides training for staff who help identify homeless families and maintain working partnerships with area shelters. Once students are identified, they can enroll with or without records.

Some groups like The Dorothy Day House and The Shops at Carriage Crossing are even collecting school supplies for homeless families this weekend. Items can be dropped off near J. Jill and Central Plaza at 4610 Merchants Park Circle, Suite 541, Collierville, TN 38107 or online.

The last day to drop them off is August 1 from 12 p.m to 4 p.m.