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DRHS Offers Help for the Homeless

Jeffco Public Schools
Jeffco’s Homeless Assistance Act poster can also be found in Spanish. If you or anyone you know is dealing with these issues, use this link to go to the Jeffco Public Schools community and family connections website:

Snow begins to fall in Colorado and suddenly everything is frozen and cold. Although some say that isn’t too much of a struggle, it could be a major conflict for those without a home. There are over 4.2 million homeless children nationwide, and many of them attend public schools. 

Being homeless is defined as an individual or a family who does not have a fixed home or any place to live, which usually means they end up living on the streets. Not all homeless people live on the streets, though. Some live in emergency shelters, transitional housing, or places that are not meant to be lived in.

In Colorado, there are over 16,000 homeless students. An estimated 800 of those are in Jefferson County. In January of 2023, it was recorded that there were approximately 12,483 people who didn’t have a home. 

Jefferson County offers accommodations such as mobile food resources, housing resources, and Medicaid. Jeffco has a different plan and program depending on each student’s needs, whether it be individual help or help for the whole family. When students, or kids in general, are homeless, they are at a higher risk for infectious diseases, asthma, and tuberculosis.  

Being homeless can also cause many behavioral and emotional problems at a young age such as depression and anxiety. Yet, one of the main concerns for schools is a child’s lack of education. Oftentimes, being homeless can result in school changes because the child will likely be moving houses or where they are staying pretty frequently. Students can also experience a lack of self esteem if they feel that others see them differently. 

A main concern is the student’s lack of ability to stay focused in class/school overall. This may cause the student to feel extra stressed while attempting to keep grades up and stressed about their own situation outside of school. 

At DRHS, students who face these problems always have counselor support. Contacting Jeffco’s community and family connections office, representative Jeremy Bennet can assist any family or student needing any help with housing instability. Another resource that DRHS counselor Julie Plautz suggests is to fill out a referral form which would be sent straight to the CFC (Career and family coordinator). The family/individual who fills out the form will be contacted immediately. 

Although not many students at DRHS are homeless, Ms. Plautz and the rest of the counselors and staff do encounter this issue every school year. Their main job is to make sure all students who are dealing with this never feel alone.

”I don’t want any family or student to be homeless — living out in their car, on the streets, in transition hotels/motels, etc.” Plautz said. 

DRHS counselor Nile Smith has several encounters with this situation each year. Smith always tries his best to make sure students know they are not alone while struggling with this tough situation. Athough it can be tough for him as well, he always stays positive to provide help for the student.

“It lends to sadness that sometimes the world is so damn harsh” Smith said. “That parents won’t take care of their own children, or that mental health has gone unchecked — that really poor decisions lead to being ”kicked” out of the house, or the choice was made to leave.”  

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About the Contributor
Aimee Aguilar
Aimee Aguilar, Staff Writer
Aimee Aguilar is a freshman at Dakota Ridge and a first year writer for The Cord News. She joined the reporting team to learn more about writing and to gain higher writing skills. When Aimee is not in school, she enjoys playing soccer and spending time with her friends. She's passionate about learning new things about cars, such as lowriders and trucks.

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