BCPS Reports Drastic Rise in Homeless Students
The school system's homeless liaison said figures have increased 10-fold in the last ten years.
The number of homeless students enrolled in Baltimore County Public Schools is growing at an alarming rate.
There were about 300 homeless students countywide in 2001, and the figure has now grown to more than 2,000, said Mary Jo Slowey, the homeless liaison for the school system.
"It increased 10-fold in the last 10 years," she said.
Slowey noted that the figures took a turn for the worse following the 2008 economic collapse.
"Sadly, the number of students in need is growing," she said.
At a Thursday ceremony held at the school system's Greenwood Campus, the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce donated $1,500 to benefit the homeless students. Additionally, the chamber, Community College of Baltimore County and Northwest Savings Bank contributed truckloads of donated school supplies.
The chamber raised the funds during a shrimp feast and bull roast hosted in July.
"We have got to do something," said Laura Winpigler, representing both the chamber and Northwest Savings.
Winpigler, who organized the donation for the second year in a row, said she was first touched by the plight of homeless students after viewing reports about the issue on television.
"I cried," she said.
The chamber is leaving it up to the school system to determine how the funds should be spent.
Superintendent S. Dallas Dance said he has asked his staff to put together a proposal for the donation.
"With the economy being what it is—it does open our eyes to the economic needs of our students," Dance said.