Wake County students facing homelessness up 88% since 2014, state data shows

Elaina Athans Image
Tuesday, April 9, 2024
Homelessness on the rise among Wake County students
The affordable housing crisis is putting pressure on the Wake County School System as well as area non-profits.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The affordable housing crisis is putting pressure on the Wake County School System as well as area non-profits.

Recent state data shows the number of Wake County students facing homelessness is up 88 percent since 2014 and organizations say right now, there are hundreds of homeless families on wait lists trying to get into emergency housing.

The Wrenn House is safe zone for children. The center is the Triangle's only shelter for people between 10 and 17 years old who are facing homelessness.

"We are out in encampments. We are out in bus stations and parks where kids are often sleeping when their family is off and dealing with housing crisis," said Haven House Outreach Specialist Emmy Shephard.

Families Together is also diligently working to help people without a stable place to call home. The nonprofit takes in entire families and last year, more than 500 Wake County school children lived there.

SEE ALSO | Up to 500 affordable housing units coming to Raleigh this year

Hundreds of new affordable housing units are on track to be completed this year in Raleigh, North Carolina.

"We're seeing a definite increase in demand and it's over 450 families on the wait list for Wake County for emergency housing," said Families Together Executive Director Jennifer Paul.

The district's funding to expand services is coming to end at the start of the upcoming academic school year.

A spokesperson said the school board and superintendent are working now to see if the district can continue funding these services.

Meanwhile, nonprofits are trying to create more safe spaces for kids.

Families Together is working with a partner and building an additional 200 new units. They should be available by the start of next year.

SEE ALSO | LeVelle Moton draws on lessons from his mother, grandmother to promote new Raleigh housing project

"I just wanted to make the world a better place because I was here," Moton said about his role in this latest housing development project.

Wrenn House is continuing to provide for our most vulnerable population thanks to community donations.

"(We're) making sure they have the basic necessities that they need while they're here, whether it's food, whether it's clothing, rather, if they just want to be in a space where it's just peaceful," said Wrenn House Clinical Coordinator Darnell Ellis.

"It's so critical for children to have that place a warm bed, a roof overhead, and just to know they're safe," said Paul.