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Homeless students are growing challenges for Springfield School District

December 01, 2010|by Marie Saavedra, KY3 News | msaavedra@ky3.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- On the heels of a task force report on how to better help homeless people in the city comes unwelcome news for Springfield School District students and their families.  The district saw a sharp increase in the number of homeless students right after the holiday weekend.  It’s more evidence that dealing with homelessness in this community has much further to go.

Four-year-old Ritchey Langrell is a ball of energy who’s been bouncing around the Missouri Hotel since early July.

"Sometimes it's a little difficult but, for the most part, it's actually been pretty good,” said his father, Steven Langrell.

Ritchey gets his parents to himself most days, as his two older brothers attend school.  They're two of about 200 Springfield School District students without permanent homes,

"I know from experiencing this before -- it's heavier.  It's also heavier because of the time of the year,” said school district attendance coordinator Becky Morgan.

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Morgan helps students and families who've lost their homes.

She tallied 149 individual students who were homeless in the district in November of last year.  Before Thanksgiving this year, she counted 208 students.  The start of this week brought another round of phone calls.

“Monday, 10 different homeless students representing three or four families said that it just happened over the holidays, or over the weekend. And that was a big number!" said Morgan.

The school district says the economy is to blame in nearly every situation, with most families coming up short with rent and utility bills.

"We'll feed them and provide them supplies and clothes, whatever we can do during that six hours and 15 minutes that they're with us,” said Morgan.

The Langrells appreciate it, as they work toward a permanent home for Ritchey and his brothers.

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