Supporting Homeless Students in the School District of Lancaster

Written by Debbie Riek, Education Coordinator | Feb 25, 2011 8:19 PM

When we picture a homeless person, many of us see the face of an older man or woman, wearing many layers of clothes, walking down a city street. However, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless, families with children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. Being homeless and of school age is a difficult and complicated situation and one that faces many children in central Pennsylvania. Many homeless students struggle to manage life in shelters or may find their family "doubled up", living with another family to help make ends meet. Homeless children have obvious physical needs and sometimes less obvious emotional ones as they navigate the complicated world of growing up, learning new things in school, and managing the instability of being homeless.

In the School District of the City of Lancaster, Ken Marzinko has worked with homeless students as the Homeless Project Facilitator for nineteen years. Last year, the Homeless Project in the School District of Lancaster served over 1000 children and Ken says the numbers are growing. The Homeless Project supports students in lots of ways from providing families with school uniforms, transportation to help minimize a child's transition from his or her home school, or even just a haircut for a homeless child headed off for his first day of kindergarten.

WATCH VIDEO 1: Ken discusses the services provided by the Homeless Project in Lancaster School District

WATCH VIDEO 2: Ken discusses how school districts can make this situation harder or easier for families

WATCH VIDEO 3: Ken talks about shelter life for school age children

WATCH VIDEO 4: Ken talks about the ways families can help other families in need

WATCH VIDEO 5: Ken talks about the value of education for homeless students

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