Growing homeless student population - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Growing homeless student population

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Syndi Johnson is one of those students who has a bright future. The Lamar High school student is graduating in August.

She says, "I plan on going to Northern Arizona University and what will you study? Business. "

What you don't know about Sydni is she's homeless...She's called Covenant House her home since things went downhill with her parents in February.

Johnson says, "me and my Mom just couldn't get along...yeah basically we just couldn't stand each other basically she ended up kicking me out. I stayed with some friends and then ended up here. "

Now just imagine a teenage girl dealing with the pressures of high school while also hiding the deep dark secret of homelessness...Sydni says it had the potential to ruin her socially on campus.

"People would invite me to come over to parties or ask if they could come over to my house and I'd be like I don't think that's a good idea," says Johnson.

Sydni is not alone. Get this - there are 7 thousand students who are categorized as homeless at HISD...another 14 hundred in Alief ISD.

Berl Hogshead of the Metropolitan Organization is a retired teacher from Alief. She was shocked when she learned just how many students from pre-K to 12th grade have no home...Many are living with single Moms at shelters - some students totally alone.

Hogshead says, "my heart just aches for these young people who have no voice. It's a justice issue. I have a voice I'm an adult and I'm going to speak for them."

This is where others are also speaking up for the homeless students in the community. Religious leaders here at Higher Dimension Church are now getting involved.

Nickcole Byrd is an associate Minister at Higher Dimension Church. She says, "this was never on the radar that we have actual children that are in a homeless situation."

Beginning June 24 Higher D is opening its doors to young people from 11 am to 2:30 pm Monday through Friday...They will provide students with hot meals, dance classes and even basketball...Church leaders say it gets those homeless youth off the streets of Houston while they're on that summer break from school.

"There are a lot of churches in the area but not a lot of churches that are putting their hands on the plow...This gives us the opportunity to show our faith in action," says Byrd.

In the meantime, Sydni is moving forward with her future. She's says she is heading to college despite the adversity that could've made her a statistic.

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