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Roanoke City Public Schools start pilot program to help families of homeless students

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) -- Roanoke City Public Schools are starting a pilot program to help families of homeless students get back on track as they find a home.

The school system has been raising awareness about homeless students all school year, first through social media. Their efforts led to hundreds of donations of clothes, coats, shoes and money. More than $20,000 was raised to date.

"The best utilization of our money is to assist is going to be where no one else is able to," said Homeless Student Coordinator Malora Horn.

Horn said a good portion of the money raised will be used to "fill the gap" for families getting back on their feet and finding a home but who don't meet the technical definition of homeless, defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and miss out on other help.

"When our families are in a hotel temporarily or staying doubled up with other people some of those same opportunities to get assistance to get permanent housing are not available."

The money, she says, will go toward necessities.

"You have to have a lot of money to get started. You have to have money usually for the deposit, first months rent, turning utilities on," Horn said.

It's a way to give families a new start.

"We know that if you can get someone house as quickly as possible the risk of recidivism decreases."

Helping while supporting stability for students as they go to school.