WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Worcester Public Schools faces a disturbing trend in regards to its homeless student population.
An average of 2500 students in Worcester Public Schools are homeless, which is 10 percent of its entire student population; according to a recent study, this ranks the school system among the top five in the nation to have the most homeless students.
Some school officials believe that skyrocketing rents are to blame.
"The downside of economic development is a rising housing market," said Maura Mahoney, Manager of Social Emotional Learning at Worcester Public Schools.
A federal grant program has enabled the school system to hire someone to help families with housing support. Some Worcester schools have also set up food and clothing pantries, as well as in-school laundry services.
"We've purchased washing machines, but also things like laundry detergent and laundry bags, because those things cost money," Mahoney said.
The school system also provides students with gift cards to help with anything they need, including Uber gift cards for transportation.
WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports