DENVER - The number of homeless students enrolled in Denver Public Schools has gone up by 50 percent in the last five years because of increasing rent prices.
“There become points where a house price hits a tipping point,” said Brian Eshbacher, director of planning and analysis for DPS, “and that’s when a family is forced to move out and we're noticing that’s hitting harder than in prior years.”
Eshbacher said this year alone they had 1,000 fewer students re-enroll in the district, adding those families usually end up moving to another, more suburban city like Aurora or Adams County, or leave the state.
“We’re noticing that more classrooms are just underutilized because there’s fewer students there now than there were two years ago,” he said.
Iris Calderon said high rent prices forced her family out of their rental home several times during her junior and senior year of high school.
Her family lived in motels and with family members to get by.
“I wanted to give up on school,” she said, “I told my counselor like I need to get my GED, I didn’t think was going to go to college.”
She and her family eventually found a place to live and she’s now able to go to college because of a scholarship from the Latin American Educational Foundation.
“Just knowing that my brothers and sisters have a place to come and sleep and a place to do their homework,” she said, “it takes a huge burden off my shoulders.”
Eshbacher said the district is working with the city to work to maintain more affordable housing options.
The district also has a program to help students who have been left without a home.