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Billings schools establishing Family Resource Center to better serve growing homeless population

Family Resource Center
Posted at 4:15 PM, Mar 10, 2024

Billings Public Schools is working towards establishing a Family Resource Center, which will provide support for families experiencing homelessness in the district.

The center, which will be located in the Lincoln Center, will be a hub for these families to collect donations like shoes, clothes, non-perishable items and also receive support from the district's community liaisons.

School District Two Director of Student Services Kevin Kirkman has been in charge of forming the Family Resource Center and said it's their attempt at combating a growing problem in Billings.

"We're identifying more homeless families and students than we have in the past," Kirkman said. "We're seeing that increase from previous years. Before COVID-19, it was in the 300s and now, we're seeing more and more."

Kirkman said that their current projections show nearly 600 students within the district are homeless, which will be the second year in a row that the totals have reached that amount. That number is the combined total for all students from kindergarten all the way up to high school.

"The goal of the Family Resource Center is to provide that support," Kirkman said. "We're not saying we'll be able to do everything, but we want to be able to support our families so. that our kids can get to school."

Donations will eventually be collected at the center. Kirkman said they will release a statement regarding what things can be dropped off, but that they'll eventually be collecting school supplies for these families as well.

"We want to make sure that every student is receiving a quality education and that they are given that opportunity," Kirkman said. "If we can eliminate some of those barriers preventing them from that, that's exactly what we're aiming to do."

Kirkman said the goal is to open the center in the next month and said he hopes it can start making an impact in students' lives immediately.

"Our main goal is getting students to go to school and getting them to go to class," Kirkman said. "If there's something we can do for that family or support we can provide, that's what we want to do."