CLEVELAND — Cleveland's City Mission reports one of the biggest hurdles caused by COVID-19 pandemic related remote learning is preparing thousands of homeless children who have few resources, and likely do not have internet access.
City Mission Chief Operating Officer Linda Uveges told News 5 it's a statewide problem that is in desperate need of both state and federal funding, especially here in Northeast Ohio.
“It’s been a rough six to eight months for the families that have come here,” Uveges said.
“Just a high need that we’re seeing that we’ve never seen before, the emotional stress.”
“We know there’s about 3,000 to 4,000 students who are experiencing homelessness, there are probably just as many that are not reporting.”
“This certainly has exposed disparities within the school districts. I am absolutely heartbroken about that.”
The City Mission is fighting back through its Laura's Home Women's Crisis Center, launching its Pathways Academy, providing laptops, works stations, and four trained instructors to help 45 homeless students get prepared for the start of the remote-only Cleveland school year on Sept. 8.
A structured school day will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 2:30 p.m.
Melissa Hargrove is a homeless mother who has been living at Laura's Home for the past year.
Hargrove said Pathways Academy is a crucial bridge for her 14-year-old son and other homeless families.
“I don’t think I would want to be at another place with the help that we receive from them,” Hargrove said.
“It keeps our kids on the right path, keep them learning, active and functional, so I’m blessed to be here.”
“With the problems of trying to keep up with his schoolwork on my own, I don’t even know if I could have done it by myself, honestly.”
"My son would be so far behind other students that do have a big and better advantage than he has if we weren’t here.”
“That’s all I can do as a mom, do the best I can, and just pray over him and everything will be okay.”