AUBURN — The greatest needs for students facing housing issues in the city are case management, transportation and mental health and substance use services, the School Department’s liaison told the School Committee on Tuesday night.

As the committee considers upcoming budget priorities later this year, members asked the School Department’s McKinney-Vento Liaison Sasha Anastasoff about the state of student homelessness to better understand where to propose funds.

Last year, 229 students were identified as homeless, with 48 of them unaccompanied minors, according to Anastasoff. So far this year, around 100 students have been identified as homeless, which is more than the 90 identified at this time last year.

There are 25 students identified as unaccompanied minors in city schools so far this year, which is more than the 18 who were identified at this time last year.

In the past, some students have been identified as living in hotels, campers, basements, garages, homeless shelters, transitional housing, tents, abandoned buildings and public spaces, Anastasoff said. Some students also come from families living in a house with another family or living in housing that lacks heat and/or running water.

She said city schools have tried to develop flexible and creative ways to ensure that students are continuing their education, including tutoring services, online learning and paper packets. There are caseworkers available in some schools to help at-risk students get access to resources for housing, food and other basic needs, she said.


One of the biggest challenges to getting homeless students in school is transportation, which city schools must provide, Anastasoff said. There are several vans to pick students wherever they are and some take students to medical appointments. However, the School Department still struggles to get those students transportation, she said.

Anastasoff told the committee she is also working to help students of families seeking asylum get furniture and other household items for the empty apartments they are settling into, she said. Many of them need beds and items for cooking and eating. She said she brought five beds to students who were sleeping on floors last week.

She asked that people reach out to her directly if they have furniture or other items to donate. Call 207-333-6652, ext. 2712 or email

Mayor Jason Levesque suggested she make a list of necessities and the city will find money to buy them.

In other business, the committee approved the second reading of two new policies governing school and school space rentals with almost no discussion. The policies change rental fees, insurance liability minimums and a fee scale and other changes.

The committee voted Oct. 4 to eliminate the former policies.

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