Homeless Youth | St. Louis Public Radio

Homeless Youth

Jennings School District social workers prepare a recently purchased minivan Nov. 14, 2019. The district is using vans to transport homeless students, which has cut costs and improved attendance compared to paying for taxi cabs.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Jennings school students who are homeless and need a ride to school are arriving the way many suburban kids do: by minivan.

The small north St. Louis Country district of about 2,500 students began using minivans this fall to transport about two dozen homeless students to school. In the past, Jennings ordered up a fleet of taxi cabs. By switching to vans it owns, the district cut its transportation budget in half, improved attendance and reduced the stigma of showing up to school in a cab, administrators said.

Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s a late-winter chill in the house. A space heater is trying to do the work of a busted furnace. Angelina rubs the sleep out of her eyes as her mom gets her washed up and dressed.

It’s 8:45 in the morning. The 8-year-old is already late for school. She didn’t go to bed until after 2 a.m., because sleeping at her great-aunt’s home in the Walnut Park neighborhood in north St. Louis was not the plan. They couldn’t get into her mom’s sister’s apartment a few miles away. So it was back on the bus.

Last summer, Chantil was forced to leave the townhome she shared with her two daughters and her mother in Des Plaines. (We’re withholding Chantil’s last name to protect her family’s privacy.) Her landlord wanted to sell the building, and Chantil had only about a month to find a new home. Landlords, however, kept turning her down because of her credit, and her income. Chantil makes $12 an hour at a department store.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Lazare House, a permanent housing program in St. Louis, aims at giving older, homeless young adults with mental health needs a chance at stability.

The 15-unit apartment building in south St. Louis is operated through Depaul USA, and provides housing for young adult ages 18 to 24.

Suzanne Kenyon, the director of Depaul USA in St. Louis, said although there are permanent housing resources in the city for adults and temporary housing resources for young people, the need for permanent supportive housing for young people is widely unmet.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 3, 2010 - If you planned to start a charter school for teens who are homeless or otherwise hard to track down, you'd think recruitment might be a problem.

But Stephanie Krauss, the young force behind the upcoming Shearwater High School, says finding potential students hasn't been difficult at all. It turns out they are finding her.