A Glimpse Into The Growing Number of Homeless Students In Spokan - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

A Glimpse Into The Growing Number of Homeless Students In Spokane

Posted: Updated:
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Imagine for a moment being a child or teenager and not knowing where you’ll sleep tonight or where your next meal is coming from. It’s hard to wrap your mind around and yet there are 852 students just in the Spokane Public School district who do it every day.

“We went to a shelter because we had nowhere else to go,” one 17-year-old student who is homeless told KHQ’s Kelsey Watts.

This senior is one of the roughly 160 students of the 1,600 enrolled at Rogers High School who is considered homeless – the school with the highest poverty rate in the district, in the neighborhood with the highest poverty rate in the state.

“I know what I went through so I can only imagine how many other kids go through it,” she added.

The teen told KHQ she never had a stable home growing up because her family struggled with issues of substance abuse and violence. She’s lived in a homeless shelter and in a tent – and even her closest friends would never know it.

“I don’t want people to look at me different and go, ‘awww,’ because that’s not who I am,” she said.

“We have several kids here who are couch surfing, just looking for some place to sleep each night,” Rogers High School Intervention Specialist Barb Silvey explained. “We have some kids where this is the only place they can shower because they don’t have water.”

Silvey has heart many heartbreaking stories over the course of her 32-year teaching career, and has personally taken in more than two-dozen foster kids. In her classroom, you’ll find coats, clothes, shoes and toiletries any student who needs them can take – and the need is growing every year.

“A lot of people think kids would choose this,” Silvey said. “How in the world would you choose to sleep in your car when it's 3 degrees outside?"

Silvey works closely with Spokane Public School’s HEART program (Homeless Education and Resource Team) which helps identity students who are considered homeless, provide them transportation and supplies, and connect them with resources to succeed.

A local food bank also comes in on a monthly basis to deliver much-needed food to the students in need. Additionally, any member of the WEA (Washington Education Association) can get approved through the union’s children’s fund for $75 to buy a student whatever they may need most (i.e. clothing, socks, toothbrushes…). Teachers and employees can help up to five students per year through the donation-based account.

“Barb is a lifesaver,” the teenage girl added. “I never would have gotten this far without her.”

Now, the teen is preparing to graduate with extra credits and plans to earn her Associate’s degree at a local community college before transferring to a state school to become a family support specialist and help others.

The total enrollment of Spokane Public Schools is 29,256 and the latest data from the annual count of people who are experiencing homelessness in our community shows that 1 in every 3 is a child.

To learn more, visit: http://www.spokaneschools.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=1608

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: CASH REWARD offered for information leading to the arrest of these FUGITIVES

    PHOTOS: CASH REWARD offered for information leading to the arrest of these FUGITIVES

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:29 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:29:40 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering cash rewards for any information leading to the arrest of the fugitives listed on their website as of August 21, 2014. If you recognize any of these fugitives, you are asked call 1-800-222 TIPS.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering cash rewards for any information leading to the arrest of the fugitives listed on their website as of August 21, 2014. If you recognize any of these fugitives, you are asked call 1-800-222 TIPS.>>
  • PHOTOS: Semi-truck rolls on its side in Post Falls

    PHOTOS: Semi-truck rolls on its side in Post Falls

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:45 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:45:02 GMT
    POST FALLS, Idaho -Idaho State Police were called to the area of Pleasant View Road off of I-90 on Thursday.>>
    POST FALLS, Idaho -Idaho State Police were called to the area of Pleasant View Road off of I-90 on Thursday. The truck was blocking multiple lanes of traffic, and it is unknown if anyone was hurt during the crash. However, a witness to the crash told KHQ it appeared that everyone was OK.>>
  • PHOTOS: Harvest 2014

    PHOTOS: Harvest 2014

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:18 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:18:43 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - One of the great parts about living in Spokane, is if you head out of town in any direction, you're going to run into some beautiful farm land. I grew up south of Spokane, near Plaza, and one of my favorite things to do was to sit on the porch at night and stare south towards Rosalia at all of the rolling hills of wheat, lentils, barley and peas. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - One of the great parts about living in Spokane, is if you head out of town in any direction, you're going to run into some beautiful farm land. I grew up south of Spokane, near Plaza, and one of my favorite things to do was to sit on the porch at night and stare south towards Rosalia at all of the rolling hills of wheat, lentils, barley and peas. >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Woman attacked in parking lot of Kootenai County Fairgrounds

    Woman attacked in parking lot of Kootenai County Fairgrounds

    Friday, August 22 2014 2:23 PM EDT2014-08-22 18:23:37 GMT
    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office is investigating an attempted rape that occurred Thursday night in the parking lot of the Kootenai County Fairgrounds. >>
    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office is investigating an attempted rape that occurred Thursday night in the parking lot of the Kootenai County Fairgrounds. Deputies say the 26-year-old woman told them she had just finished working at the fair at around 8:00pm and was walking to her car when two men attacked her from behind and took her to the ground. >>
  • WATCH IT: A farmer. A trombone. An empty field. What happens next?

    WATCH IT: A farmer. A trombone. An empty field. What happens next?

    Friday, August 22 2014 1:42 PM EDT2014-08-22 17:42:29 GMT
    KHQ.COM - The video begins simply enough. A man who calls himself Farmer Derek Klingenberg walks into the frame with a trombone, looks at the camera, gives a "shhhhh" sign, and then sits down in a lawn chair and begins to play a cover version of Lorde's "Royals." >>
    KHQ.COM - The video begins simply enough. A man who calls himself Farmer Derek Klingenberg walks into the frame with a trombone, looks at the camera, gives a "shhhhh" sign, and then sits down in a lawn chair and begins to play a cover version of Lorde's "Royals." What happens next? An audience quickly forms. Check it out.>>
  • DUI suspect gets car stuck on train tracks, breaks ankle trying to get away

    DUI suspect gets car stuck on train tracks, breaks ankle trying to get away

    Friday, August 22 2014 1:29 PM EDT2014-08-22 17:29:45 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A 24-year-old man was arrested for DUI early Friday morning after police say he abandoned his car on train tracks in downtown Spokane shortly before it was hit by a train, and then broke his ankle fleeing the scene. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A 24-year-old man was arrested for DUI early Friday morning after police say he abandoned his car on train tracks in downtown Spokane shortly before it was hit by a train, and then broke his ankle fleeing the scene. Just before 3:00am, Spokane Police were told a train hit a car near the intersection of S. Browne St. and W. Pacific Ave. >>