Homeless students in the Duluth schools who are on their own can be assessed for housing without leaving their school. That’s because, near the beginning of this school year, Katie Danielson became the first school district employee in Minnesota qualified to conduct the assessments.
The goal is to minimize the impact on the students’ education, said Danielson, the district’s Families in Transition coordinator.
With homeless youth remaining a major issue in Duluth, ‘Families in Transition’ or ‘FIT’ are working to raise money, keeping the community as involved as possible in helping provide for nearly 450 children a year.
‘FIT’ is teaming up with Faster Solutions, another Duluth organization. The groups launched a fundraiser in late October to see if the community would be willing to help provide items that ‘FIT’ can’t usually give out such as certain hygiene products and transportation assistance for families.
“We do have quite a few students that are homeless in our schools. So we average between 400-450 per year, and those are just the students we know about. Those are students that are referred to us, students that approach us. But there can be certainly more we just don’t know about,” said Katie Danielson, a coordinator at Families in Transition.
But the District’s Familes in Transition program is looking to change that. With the help of local businesses and neighbors, the program has started an online fundraising campaign in hopes of raising $1,000 by the end of this year.
“So that we could have some funds to buy things for youth, such as bus passes, Super One [cards], Cub Foods cards, other money that we could [use to] purchase things for youth that we don’t normally have funds for–such as IDs, birth certificates, laundry detergent, and so we’re trying to raise as much money as we can,” said Danielson.