GREAT FALLS — The Great Falls homeless population has been an issue for years. However, the programs provided by the city and other agencies to help those experiencing homelessness continues to grow.
This week we highlight the Great Falls Public Schools' student service department. These workers spend their day discovering those experiencing homelessness and offering services to set them up for success.
“Our main mission is, we want to eliminate all the roadblocks that appear within our families and specifically are homeless families in order to find ways to get them to school. If we want to get those kids to school, give them rides, food, provide as much as we can, stability for that family, so that they can get here and be successful,” said student services coordinator Ryan Hart.
Hart was a long-time principal who recently took on a new role of helping kids, but from a different angle.
“The reasons may have been different, but the meaning is all the same. I love being able to help kids and see them succeed,” said Hart.
In Great Falls, there were at last count 427 students experiencing homelessness - defined as students living in a shelter, doubled up with other families, facing unsheltered/ inadequate housing, or living in hotels/motels.
“We want to make their interaction with education and schools a positive one,” said Hart.