Toledo has highest homeless student rate in the state

Toledo has highest homeless student rate in the state

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - According to the most recent report from the Ohio Department of Education, more than 1 in 10 students attending Toledo Public Schools, are classified as "homeless."

While the number has steadily risen over the past few years, many have not noticed.

It's a problem that may be hiding in plain sight due to the stigma that comes with being labeled "homeless." There is no hiding the numbers however.

Out of Ohio's four largest cities, Toledo has the smallest population yet has a staggering 2,600 students considered as "homeless." That's the highest number out of the four cities.

The Ohio Department of Education defines homeless students as those who lack a fixed and regular  night-time residence.

That includes living in motels, hotels, staying on different friends' couches or living at a local shelter like Toledo's Family House.

Many students and their families live at Toledo's Family House without anyone knowing.

"You want friends, you want to be accepted and a lot of the time our kids aren't accepted. So they keep their situation a secret just to protect themselves and their families. And a lot of the times families, mom and dad, will keep their situation a secret to protect their kids," said Renee Palacios, the Executive Director of the Family House.

The shelter is the largest one in northwest Ohio. It's responsible for housing and outfitting many homeless TPS students that stay with them.

The ability to provide the students with clothes and supplies is made possible by the McKinney-Vento grant from the Ohio Department of Education.

However, that grant has been absent for the past two years. The shelter hopes that help is on the way.

TPS leaders said they've already reapplied for the grant and have been approved.

The district will receive $400,000 to provide funding for homeless students and allow the district to get more school supplies, uniforms and other resources for those students.

TPS leaders said that the funding will go into effect this upcoming school year.

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