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As Additional Pandemic Help Expires, Schools Worry What It Means For Homeless Students

By Jeanie Lindsay, IPB News | Published on in Community, Education, Local News
Schools are required by law to offer assistance to students facing housing instability and homelessness, so they can still receive education services. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)
Schools are required by law to offer assistance to students facing housing instability and homelessness, so they can still receive education services. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Indiana’s moratorium on evictions is set to expire this week and additional pandemic unemployment benefits have already ended, and schools are on edge for what it could mean for students with unstable housing.

Angie Vickery, director of special services for Anderson Community Schools, said she’s worried expiring pandemic assistance will force even more students into unstable housing situations. She said it’s especially concerning if that means more people having to live under one roof during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You know, you really can’t social distance if you’re living with 12 people in a house that’s made for 4 people,” she said. “I’ve even had some families tell me already that it’s spreading in their family because we have a house of 15 people.”

Addressing housing needs is critical for students to be successful academically. State data shows homeless students graduate at a rate about 10 percent lower than others.

“Sometimes education isn’t on the forefront because we’ve got so many other needs to take care of before the education can take place,” Vickery says.

READ MORE: Indiana, Bracing For Flood Of Evictions, Will Launch Settlement Arbitration

State funding hasn’t kept up with growing numbers of students facing housing instability, but Vickery said families facing housing challenges should still reach out to their child’s school for assistance. The Indiana Department of Education also includes resources for families on its website.

Contact reporter Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.