Roanoke city leaders seek community support in reducing student homelessness

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Homelessness is a problem more than 500 Roanoke City students faced last year. Through t-shirts sales and social media campaigns the community raised awareness about the issue in city schools.

Mayor-elect Sherman Lea said the city is committed to reducing homelessness.

"Roanoke is going to make a difference in this," said Lea.

During budget talks, city council approved more than $131,000 in funding for services which include homeless prevention efforts and rapid re--housing programs. While it helps, the financial support can only go so far. Lea said it's going to take a community effort to address the problem.

"Government can't solve this problem itself but to oversee it and help where ever it can," said Lea.

For agencies like the Council of Community Services, some resources for housing homeless families have limitations.

"Some of our HUD resources are not able to be used for folks that are doubled up or in hotel, motel situations so there has been a service gap for those folks," said Matt Crookshank, Council of Community Service.

Crookshank said community efforts like the United Way's RYSE campaign can help raise the money needed to fill service gaps and provide housing for those who need it.