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For Homeless Arizona Families, Back To School Time Means More Financial Stress

By Lauren Gilger, Mark Brodie
Published: Friday, August 30, 2019 - 11:27am
Updated: Monday, September 2, 2019 - 11:23am

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Back to school is an exciting time for lots of kids, we hear a lot about back to school sales and see lots of photos of kids on social media heading off to their first day of preschool or kindergarten.

But for a growing number of homeless families in Arizona, the picture is not so rosy.

During the last school year, the Arizona Department of Education reports there were more than 26,000 students in public schools who were homeless in our state. That's an increase from 25,000 the year before.

Joe Dulin is chief philanthropy officer for A New Leaf, which runs the La Mesita Family Homeless Shelter in downtown Mesa. He said they only expect the problem to get worse as affordable housing becomes more of a challenge.

School season is a time when those families are even more stretched for resources.

Because of that, the shelter has worked to give those families the kinds of things they might need — from backpacks and school supplies to clothes. Angela Anderson and her three young children were grateful for the help.

The Show spoke with her at the La Mesita shelter to talk about the difficult circumstances that led her there.

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