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Alum Rock School District's homeless student population rises

As we approach a holiday where millions of children around the world prepare to open Christmas presents under the tree, there’s a growing number of Bay Area kids with no gift, tree or home to celebrate the holiday.

In the Alum Rock School District in San Jose, the student homeless population doubled this year. 

More than 100 children in the district are not only worrying about studying for tests, they’re wondering where they’re going to sleep on any given week.

“Some of them are under tents, under the bridges,” said Dr. Hilaria Bauer of the Alum Rock School District superintendent. 

Yes, studying for that spelling test in a tent in Silicon Valley.

Alum Rock reports nearly 140 students are facing that reality right now. That’s double the number from a year ago, and triple since the beginning of COVID.

“We know that economic inequality being what it is, families are really struggling,” said Demone Carter of Sacred Heart Community Services Agency. 

The agency sees the need every day. 

Yesenia Busutamante is one of those struggling to make ends meet amid high rents, and high food prices.

And now, even the nonprofits are in need of help.

In Alum Rock, another nonprofit that had previously provided Christmas toys for local unhoused children had to back out this year because they couldn’t meet the demand.

Now, the district staff is stepping up and chipping in to throw a holiday party for the kids. Complete with food and toys.

“When I saw the list of gifts that our unhoused children were asking for, that also touched my heart, because they were basketballs, art supplies,” said Bauer. “In the fourth economy on the planet, for a children to be saying, ‘all I want is a basketball.’”

Not an iPad or a bike, just a basketball. Something they can hold onto as they study and their families look for a warm place to call home.  

Source: NBC Bay Area

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