Local organizations provide resources for growing number of homeless students

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (CBS 3 Duluth) - Almost 300 students in Duluth Schools are experiencing homelessness.

The district and local leaders are working to support them.

For Jordon Johnson providing support for homeless youth is a personal issue.

“From 9 to 15 years old, we were homeless,” said Johnson.

He now serves as the Executive Director for Lifehouse, a Duluth organization providing help for homeless or at-risk youth.

“Our team can wrap their arms around them and help them complete their education and figure out what they want to do next in life, or just stabilize them,” Johnson said.

These services are in high demand.

Katie Danielson is coordinator of the family in transition program for Duluth schools, serving almost 300 students experiencing homelessness.

“We do have a lot of homeless students in Duluth Public Schools,” Danielson said. “And our students look like any other student.”

The number of students in the program actually decreased during the pandemic, which was a trend nationwide.

Danielson said this isn’t because fewer were homeless, they were just difficult to contact due to distance learning.

Now, the number is climbing.

“We make ourselves available pretty much 24/7,” said Danielson. “Because homelessness doesn’t just go 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.”

As Johnson and others who’ve spent time on the streets know, having resources like Lifehouse is vital.

“It’s like a full circle healing for my own journey,” Johnson said. “Of saying ‘I know what it’s like to be on the streets of Duluth.’”

Lifehouse provides resources for basic hygiene, housing, educational support, mental health and wellness counseling and jobs.

If you’d like to support their efforts, you can donate here.

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