BRONSON, MI (WTVB) - Advocates for assisting homeless teenagers in Branch County have been reminded again about the challenges they face with the latest statistics released by the Department of Education showing nearly 400 students in the County were homeless last year. Since 1996, Altrusa Teen Share, Student Housing and Resource Exchange, has provided homeless shelters and programs for teenagers in Branch County.
Teen Share has two ranch style homes that allow the teen’s independent living while pursuing their education, housing up to 6 boys and 6 girls. There’s been a 66% rise in homeless students in Michigan over the past 4 years with more than 37,500 among those in the state for the 2011-12 school year, according to a Detroit Free Press article Wednesday that’s part of a 4-part Free Press series. The homeless lacked a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. That’s the definition provided by the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and includes those children who might be living in someone else’s residence, or “doubling up”.
The local administrator of the McKinney-Vento Assistance program is the Branch County Coalition against Domestic Violence and TeenShare with further information and assistance available by calling 278-SAFE, or on line at 278safe.com. Department of Education data showed of the 379 homeless students in Branch County, 181 were in the Coldwater School System, 71 in Union City, 47 from Quincy, 67 from Bronson and 13 from Pansophia Academy.