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TFSD combats student homelessness in Avenues for Hope Campaign

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Posted at 3:59 PM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 00:32:36-05

MAGIC VALLEY, Idaho — The Twin Falls School District is participating in the Avenues for Hope Campaign for their third year in a row.

They hope to raise awareness around the impacts of poverty and homelessness on families within the district. The campaign will run from December 9 - 31

The district is partnering with over 90 other organizations that are also participating. The Home Partnership Foundation started the campaign in 2011 and works with nonprofits and school districts that provide housing and/or supportive services to low-income or homeless Idahoans.

The goal is to raise funds to help meet community housing needs. Many of those in need are student families.

“If we can help with resources that can help [students] focus on school or parents focus on work and not have to be concerned about where they are going to do their homework or where they are going to sleep at night. I think all those things come into play for how Avenues For Hope and all of the participating nonprofits are going to help utilize those resources to help meet those needs,” said Deanna Ward the Director of Development at the Home Partnership Foundation.

Over the past 10 years, the campaign has helped raise around $1.2 million in southeast Idaho.

According to the Twin Falls School District, over 300 children had been identified as homeless within the district, and around 70 are living in motels. 64% of all students in the school district qualify for free or reduced lunches.

“The housing crisis has really hit our families hard and either rents will be raised to where they can’t afford it, or we are seeing landlords that are selling the homes because the home values are so much higher… And so we have seen so many more families this year in motels,” said Becky Jaynes, the At-Risk Services Coordinator for the Twin Falls School District.

The lack of affordable housing options and rising food costs have made it difficult for twin falls families to save enough money to reach stability.

“So many of the families come in and they are nervous to ask for assistance. They haven’t been in this situation before and the students, especially students new to this situation, are very nervous and they’re not able to sleep… they are wondering where their meals may come from,” said Jaynes.

The district connects families to resources within the community and is often able to help provide families with food, clothes, school supplies, and hygiene products.

The school district will be sharing stories on their Facebook page during the avenues for hope campaign, about students who have overcome adversity and achieved their academic goals.

Donations made during the campaign will go towards helping families in need. Donations for the district can be made on the Avenues for Hope TFSD webpage.