Invisible Children: The community where one in three students is - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Invisible Children: The community where one in three students is homeless

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SAN YSIDRO (CBS 8) – San Ysidro is a bustling border community that forms part of the City of San Diego, yet in many ways it feels worlds apart – especially when it comes to its children.

In San Ysidro, hundreds of school children do not have a reliable place to lay their heads every night after school.

In the United States one in 30 schoolchildren is homeless.

In San Ysidro it’s one in three.

Veronica Medina grew up in San Ysidro and now works for the school district, to help connect families with scarce resources.

“It’s heartbreaking. We have approximately 1,500 students considered homeless in the San Ysidro School District,” said Medina.

Many of the homeless students are living in shelters, campers or RV’s, local motels or hotels, or doubling up with other families in the same situation.

Medina said some families had lived in junkyards, but have been relocated.

The need for permanent and affordable housing persists.

This past year, the district failed to secure a special federal grant for $125,000, which its children without a home had relied on for more than a decade.

Sometimes on her own time, Medina has worked directly with local families who lack a stable roof over their heads.

One family of nine calls the Gateway Inn, next to the border, their home.

“We eat in the same room. We sleep in the same room. It’s very hard,” said Isabella. Her husband was deported six years ago.

Isabella collects cans and sometimes sales her belongings just to scrape together $600 a month for rent.

“I just make ends meet. I don’t have anything left over,” she said.

Medina calls children like those of Isabella, the invisible children because “when school is out, no one knows where they are at. There’s no place they can just be themselves.”

One mother said she just wants her children to have a better life than she had. 

If you would like to help, you can email Veronica Medina at: vmedina@sysd.k12.ca.us 

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