SAN YSIDRO, Calif. — The San Ysidro school board declared a state of emergency Thursday night, asking Governor Jerry Brown to help curve the homeless population in the district.
According to board members, 30 percent of San Ysidro School District students lead nomadic lifestyles without stable living conditions.
“The misconception is that when you hear ‘homeless’ you think someone who lives on the streets. In reality, a lot of our children are transitional homeless. They live in motels, in cars, move back and forth, in garages or on their aunts’ and uncles’ couches,” said Antonio Martinez, board president
Martinez says more than 1,500 students live in such conditions. Half of those attend Willow Elementary.
“We have the responsibility to make sure those barriers of coming to school hungry, tired, cold, don’t have enough appropriate clothing, that we do something about it if their families can’t,” said San Ysidro School District Superintendent Julio Fonseca.
Fonseca said with the help from Sacramento, they would be able to provide temporary vouchers for housing with the long-term goal of making it permanent. They also might be able to provide shelter on district property should the El Niño storms hit as predicted.