At any given time, SAISD has around 3,000 homeless students, the second highest number of homeless students in Texas. School administrators say that with 27 homeless shelters in the district, the numbers aren't surprising.
"These kids are kids that are in shelters. They're also kids that are doubled up with family members and friends in our neighborhoods. We do have a small population who are living in hotels and in cars," said Estella Garza with SAISD.
There are 113,000 homeless students in Texas Public Schools and 16,000 of them are unaccompanied, which means they aren't with their family and not in the CPS system.
"Often, these youth are running away from abusive homes or they've been kicked out so they're neglected. They're often in that gap of 16- to 17-year-olds where it's really hard for CPS to find a placement for them. They don't feel like they fit in anywhere," said Gabriella McDonald with Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit that recently published the report "Young, Alone, and Homeless in the Lone Star State: Policy Solutions to End Youth Homelessness in Texas."
Minorities or girls make up the majority of homeless children. Experts say that these students are more likely to be held back in school, drop out, get involved with crime, or become a victim of a serious crime like trafficking.
"This population is a hidden population, and part of the reason it's important to start to identify them is because they are citizens that we want to start serving now so that later in life they can contribute themselves," McDonald said.