"Our address is new. I can't remember
Though a simple statement, that brief
reaction can be a warning sign for student homelessness.
The annual nationwide Homeless Point in
Time Count, which took place despite rapid falling snow on Tuesday,
included a school-by-school count submitted by the Monroe County
School System. By that count, there are 31 students in the school
system who are considered "homeless."
By definition, "homeless children and
youth" include the students who:
-Lack fixed, regular and adequate
-Share housing (due to loss or
-Live in hotels, motels, trailer homes,
campgrounds, emergency or transitional shelters, are abandoned in
hospitals, or are awaiting foster care placement.
-Whose primary nighttime residence is
not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping
-Live in cars, parks, public spaces,
abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations or
-Are migratory children who qualify as
homeless because of their living situation.
-Are unaccompanied youth not in the
physical custody of a parent or guardian.
Currently, there are three homeless
students at Coker Creek Elementary School, five at Madisonville
Intermediate School, four at Madisonville Middle School, two at
Madisonville Primary School, five at Sequoyah High School, four at
Tellico Plains Elementary School, five at Tellico Plains Junior High
School, two at Vonore Elementary School and one at Vonore Middle
Overcoming the barriers
Dan Schlafer, the homeless and migrant
liaison for the Monroe County School System, annually appoints a
homeless coordinator at each school.
"These kind, caring, hand-selected
folks are annually trained to know and understand homelessness issues
and the federal law that is applicable to this situation," said
When one of the school system's
homeless coordinators determines that a school has a homeless
student, they immediately contact Schlafer.
See full story in the Sunday, Feb. 2, edition of The Advocate & Democrat.