Local Voices – Vicki

Vicki Garland, homeless liaison, Josiah Bartlett School, New Hampshire:

“I am the homeless liaison for a K-8 school of under 300 students in northern, rural, New Hampshire. At Christmas time we had six children living in motels. One family with four children started in our district in September. They were camping in the woods behind our school. Once it got cold they began moving from one motel to another. They applied for all sorts of social services but were denied due to lack of documentation, including birth certificates. The mother couldn’t remember where their documents were because of the frequent moves. On Christmas Eve they were kicked out of the motel they were in because the motel owner could rent it for a higher price than this family was paying. They ended up in a one room motel without a kitchen. When I visited, the mother was cooking on a hot plate and the smoke alarm was screeching and the 4 year old had his hands over his ears and was screaming and the mother was crying. The 8th grade boy is very bright and claimed that his dream was to go to Yale. But after a few moves, he stopped trying. They left our area last month. Motels are not homes!”

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About the photos: Photos of children and youth experiencing homelessness provided by Diane Nilan, HEAR US Inc., used with permission. (c) 2012, Diane Nilan, HEAR US Inc.