Pictures on the news of tent cities often lead people to conclude that homelessness is an exclusive problem to America’s largest cities, but the truth is, rural areas are not immune to the challenges of homelessness. It is a concern in every county and every part of our nation.

Every school my office serves has to confront the reality of homeless kids on a daily basis. This is not an issue anyone wants to talk about, but it is one we must confront, especially during National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. In the United States, about 37.2 million Americans live below the poverty level and 580,000 Americans are homeless on a typical night. Approximately one in six children in the U.S. live in poverty and here locally, every county the Regional Office of Education 21 serves — Massac, Johnson, Franklin and Williamson counties — has double digit poverty levels.

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