AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the lack of affordable housing become a bigger issue in Austin, the nonprofit Housing Works says its seeing a direct impact on the number of homeless students enrolling at Austin Independent School District.
For April and her son, she knows this story too well.
April is five years sober from Methamphetamine. While she’s fortunate she has a healthy 10-year-old son, her time spent doing drugs cost her her home.
“It’s scary, it’s very scary. It is hard to bounce around because a child needs stability,” April remembers.
For five years, Michael, her son, had to witness her addiction. They were without a home when he started preschool. The lack of a stable home took a toll on hiis learning. His mother would get calls from his school because he would sit in the corner and cover himself with a blanket. This was his routine when the family would move from shelters to people’s couches.
“The school calling, needing me to come, needing me to come comfort him, so it was the same process,” April recalls.
Michael says he always felt like he did not have a place to fit in.
“I don’t like being the new kid in a classroom because it is really nervousing,” Michael says.
Unfortunately, stories like Michael’s aren’t rare. AISD says the number of homeless students who attend its schools is now at 2,642, two years ago, the number was around 2,000.
Housing Works says the amount of homeless students in the AISD district has skyrocketed because some apartments do not accept Section 8 housing vouchers.
For April, she is on long term assisted housing but agrees that Section 8 vouchers allow others to find a place to call home. Now she actually has a place to hang Michael’s school posters. Now that they have a roof over their heads, she shows her son that schooling comes first.
AISD says they are working with various organizations like Project Help to make sure homeless students get the help they need. The district also says the teachers go above and beyond to help these students succeed.