Tough economy takes toll on students

Kevin Moore lives with his mom at Pacific Garden Mission, a homeless shelter.

"It's hard. It hurts because people are coming from homes... but you're coming from homelessness," said Moore.

Moore holds his head up high, but said at times it gets to him.

"When I think about it, I get hurt. I start crying because I didn't do nothing to get in this place," said Moore.

Pat Rivera heads Chicago's Students in Temporarily Living Situations Unit. She says homeless students are at risk of falling behind and dropping out because students may move from school to school.

Chicago Public Schools had 10,692 homeless students in the 2007-2008 school year. Last year, that number grew to 12,525. This year, it is expected to go up again to at least 13,500.

"With the economy the way it is, we've been asked to give more and more support," said Rivera.

The suburbs are also seeing an increase, according to The Daily Herald, ABC7's news partner. Elgin District 46 saw a 77 percent rise in homeless students; West Aurora District 129 is up 105 percent; and Schaumburg Township 54 saw a 300 percent increase.

Moore is beating the odds. He's on the honor roll and the baseball team. He said sometimes kids tease him, but he wanted to talk to ABC7 so others might understand the situation.

"Tell you the truth, I do better than all of them people in my classroom. I want to do good 'because later in life. I don't have to be in this place," said Moore.

He also said he gets help from men in the shelter when he needs it for his homework. His mom has some advice to other parents.

"Don't do anything to hinder your place like I did, that way your children won't have to go through what mine are," said Kimela Moore, mother.

Kimela Moore said her addiction contributed to her family's homelessness. She's now two-years sober and working toward permanent housing.

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