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KY Student Homeless Rates Worst in Nation

Sébastien Barré

  A review of federal education data shows more than 30,000 Kentucky students are homeless. The projection puts the Commonwealth at the nation’s highest rate of student homelessness.

Executive Director of Paducah Cooperative Ministry Hedi Surheinrich says homelessness among women and children has been a concern for years, even more so within the last 5 years.

“People are often surprised at the large numbers because in rural areas this group is seemingly invisible.” Surheinrich said.

The Cooperative Ministry closed their homeless shelter this time last year because the property owner did not renew their lease, though they expect to open their new location within the next two months. Surheinrich says within a year they would see between 200 and 300 kids come through their doors.

“There are a lot of different ways that children will respond to that kind of stress in their lives. They are either going to act out, regress, or withdraw.” Surheinrich said.

The U.S. Department of Education defines a homeless child as one who lives in a shelter, motel, campground, car, outside or with another family member due to loss of housing

Nicole Erwin is a Murray native and started working at WKMS during her time at Murray State University as a Psychology undergraduate student. Nicole left her job as a PTL dispatcher to join the newsroom after she was hired by former News Director Bryan Bartlett. Since, Nicole has completed a Masters in Sustainable Development from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia where she lived for 2 1/2 years.