Blanket Drive Uncovers Homeless Student Issues
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
ALLOUEZ-- A record-breaking blanket drive in Brown County is shining light on what experts are calling a hidden epidemic; homeless students. Leaders blame the economy for the growing number of homeless children.
The 2nd annual Blanketing Brown County, a drive sponsored by the United Way and the Green Bay Labor Council, exceeded expectations this year. Volunteers collected more than 1,500 blankets in about three weeks. Green Bay schools are distributing 800 blankets and sleeping bags to students.
"So they are able to take to homes that they are staying at because they have no permanent stable housing available to them,” said Rachel Miller, homeless liaison for the Green Bay Area School District.
In Brown County alone, about 1200 students are homeless. The list includes: Green Bay (789) Ashwaubenon (85) Howard-Suamico (75) De Pere (33) Pulaski (16) Luxemberg-Casco (13) Wrightstown (2)
Leaders blame the economy for the growing number of homeless children. The blankets help make a difference for many of those kids. "They allow us to offer one more resource directly to families who don't have places to stay maybe staying in their cars, maybe doubled up with other families, inadequate housing, said Andrea Pasqualucci of the Ashwauebenon school district.
Golden House Director Karen Faulkner says 300 homeless children stayed at the shelter last year. That’s a small percentage of the total number of homeless kids because Golden House only serves families with domestic abuse issues.
"The number of children in a shelter, sleeping in their car, hopping from place to place, it's just growing and it a situation that needs to be seriously addressed by all of our community leaders and all of our citizens,” Faulkner said.
Advocates are trying to raise awareness of the problem, one blanket at a time.