School Resources For Homeless Students

Litzi Flores, Staff Reporter

The number of homeless people in Utah has skyrocketed over recent years. Being homeless can be detrimental to the health and education of a child; according to a study titled “Child Homelessness in Utah” by Crossroads Urban Center,  “Research shows that children with an experience of homelessness are up to nine times more likely to be held back in school for a grade.”

The report also stated that  “homelessness itself is traumatic for children and exposes them to other forms of trauma.”

Cottonwood has several helpful resources for homeless and disadvantaged students,  one of which is the food pantry which is open Monday through Thursday at 2:05 p.m. The food pantry provides free food, sanitary items, and personal hygiene items. There are also multiple links found on the school website [] that provide information about financial help programs and shelters that are available. 

¨We have a really good homeless program at Granite district,” Teresa Olsen, a counselor, said. “We have 2 very capable ladies that run the program and they are very involved.¨

There has also been word of a teen center that may be constructed where homeless students will have access to the food pantry, laundry facilities, hygiene kits, and school supplies. Similar teen centers have been implemented in the Davis district, among others. 

 In order for the school to provide these resources to all of the students who need them,  it is crucial for students to be honest about their situation.

Olsen said, “Yes if we don’t know who they are, we can’t help them. I think for the most part we are able to identify them fairly well, we get to know our students fairly well. if they’re honest with us then we are able to help them but, we aren’t able to help them, and don’t know unless they tell us.”

She continued, “I think if they know there are resources available and they know that we have stuff that can help them they’d be willing to talk to us so maybe spreading the word about what’s available and what the district has would help students talk to us.”