SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – More Bay Area students are homeless than ever before, with 20,000 schoolchildren having no fixed place to sleep at night.
“Some of them are staying in overnight shelters, some of them are couch surfing, sometimes families are staying in their cars,” said Elizabeth Ancker, Program Director at Compass Connecting Point, the intake and placement center for homeless families in San Francisco.
“We have women who were mail-order brides from Russia who came over here. They got married, they got pregnant. It was an abusive environment. They had to leave and they ended up homeless,” Ancker said. “Then we see families like Vicky, who are holding down full-time jobs as a substitute teacher, but can’t make ends meet because housing is so expensive.”
Vicky has two teenagers. Her ex-husband is not paying child support and she lost her apartment at Parkmerced in San Francisco. There is no room for the family at local shelters.
“We tried at Raphael House and we got turned down, and I’m on the list here. I was told there was a six month wait list,” Vicky said. So she and her 15-year-old son are staying with friends in Oakland, while her daughter stays in Marin. “I hate it,” Vicky said. “This is the first time we’ve been separated and it’s very difficult because – even homework and stuff. I’m calling her and asking her, what’s for homework. We’re trying to do it over the phone but it’s hard.”