GREELEY, Colo. - In the Greeley-Evans school district, 1,100 students are still registered as "homeless" after September's floods, including 150 who are moving place to place.
School district spokesperson Theresa Myers said the district is predominately lower-income and always has a student population registered as homeless. However, Myers said that number is typically around 200 at this time of year.
"We had a family who was living in a garage that we found out about. We’ve had families living in warehouses. Right after the floods I talked with a girl at one of our high schools who had 18 people living in her home," Myers said. "You hear story after story of people who are suffering tremendous hardships."
"We lost everything we had. We lost our home. We lost everything we’ve ever worked for. It’s really hard to come back from that, and a lot of people don’t realize that," said high school junior Jessie Alvarenga, who is an athlete on the wrestling and football teams.
Alvarenga was fortunate that his family found a home, but that wasn't the case for some of his friends.
"They just find a place where they think it’s safe enough to sleep and park for the night. It's a car, they’re living in the vehicle. It’s too bad," Alvarenga said.
The district has received $118,000 through Project SERV, a grant through Colorado's Department of Education. Part of that money hired two counselors and two homeless liaisons who help the families.
Another $94,000 came through private donations which has helped buy clothes, backpacks and meals for the students and their families.
However, Myers said the need is overwhelming and still growing.
"We, under federal law, have to provide that [basic needs that don't create barriers to school]. So that’s everything from school supplies, to clothing, to backpacks to transportation," she said.
One part of the expenses has been transportation. With so many students moving, the district has had to change bus routes.
Currently, the district is bussing 75 students from outside the district. At the peak that number was 300.
If you'd like to help, you can donate directly on Greeley-Evans School district website, https://greeley.revtrak.net/tek9.asp?pg=products&specific=jphrppi4