(Fargo, ND) -- Officials with Fargo Public Schools say 299 students were experiencing homelessness within the district.
Fargo Public Schools Homeless Liaison Jan Anderson wrote a report on homelessness within the district, saying the number is a 20% increase from the previous year, or roughly 60 additional students.
"Being homeless feels like nobody cares about you. If not for the great people I’ve met along my life, I would probably be in a crack house somewhere doing God knows what” said one student who graduated Fargo Public Schools.
The district says comments shared by graduates that were experiencing homelessness at the time of their high school graduation shared examples of where they did sleep. This included places like living at a relative or friend's home due to hardship, staying in shelters or motels, a car or campground, living on the street, staying in an abandoned building or apartment, or moving between locations. The graduated students also had the option to share how they became homeless, where they lived while attending high school, and share experiences with the school describing homelessness. The report did not disclose the identities of the students surveyed.
"It’s hard. It’s hard always wondering where you’re going to sleep," said another graduate, "Where to bring your stuff? Is it really worth going to school today or working to get cash at the end of the day for supper?”
The district report says students are provided free a breakfast and lunch, school supplies, hygiene products, and clothing if needed. The district also connects the students to additional resources like housing options, medical or dental services, and more.
"“I would want them to know that financial assistance makes a difference, "said a third graduate, "Most people are homeless because they don’t have money to pay for the expenses.”