District 205 Program Works to Help Homeless Students

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) – While many kids probably enjoyed their recent snow days, hundreds of them don’t necessarily have a home to stay at during those cold days. More than 1,500 District 205 students are considered homeless.

18-year-old Elizabeth White finally has her own place after moving her belongings from home to home. She spent the last 2 years sleeping at friends’ houses and shelters as a student at Guilford High School.

“It was hard not having a stable place to be and I wouldn’t be too worried about school and try to like, distract myself.”

White says she quickly learned that she wasn’t alone. More than 1,500 RPS students are considered homeless. District 205 has a program helping kids find resources for everything from school supplies to clothes.

“School really is the stability for a lot of them,” said Mary Trujillo, a Homeless Student Advocate. “You know they go to school every day, that’s where they, you know, get their meals.”

“I wasn’t living with a guardian or parent. I was living with a friend.”

Yet that didn’t stop Lakisha Whaley from overcoming her situation. She was part of that RPS program when she was just 14 years old. Now, she’s enrolling classes at Rock Valley College.

“It made me push harder in school because I wanted to prove to everybody that I was the exception. I just want ore people t know there’s help out there for families.”

White says she’s grateful for that help and to finally have her own place to call home.

Advocates also help students with waivers for school fees and preparing them for college. District 205 has partnered with other local agencies like the youth services network. If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the homeless department at 815-966-3140.

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