There are more than 2,000 schoolchildren in San Francisco who are homeless. The number has been rising, and schools are struggling to meet their extra needs. It’s the same story in other cities as the recession takes its toll on families. We discuss how homeless students navigate the educational, social, and economic maze of school.

Jill Tucker, education writer for the San Francisco Chronicle
Elizabeth Ancker, assistant program director of Compass Family Services SF
Nicole McAuliffe, director of advancement at Mission Dolores Academy. Former teacher and principal.
Elizabeth Torres, parent liason at Fairmount Elementary School
Terrilyn Woodfin, currently homeless with a 16-year-old son at Galileo High School and author of a forthcoming book tentatively titled "I am Homeless: The New Face of Homelessness"

  • Starr

    Legally, being homeless is not a reason for CPS to remove children.  It is not neglect or abuse.  Child Protective Services, now called Children and Family Services would rather have children being cared for by the people who love them then put them in foster care.  In some situations Children and Family Services may even be able to help families who are homeless.  Children and Family Services (CPS) should be thought of as a resource and not something to fear. For example, referrals for Head Start received from Children and Family Services maybe put on the top of the pile. 

    • Rob

      Your guess keeps saying that parents need someone they can trust in schools so parents are not scared of CPS. By saying this she is continuing the myth that CPS will remove for being homeless.  This is not a reality.  


    I would like to cover part of the $290 dollars that the  lady needs in the next 2hrs so that she is not evicted. How do I do that?

    • Faraparsons

      I would like to help, jow do we do that?

  • B3ns3to

    Hi I would also like to help donate toward the $290

  • Jenna

    Do your guests has have suggestions about programs the public can support that help children and families in this situation?

  • Beth Anselmi

    I would also like to contribute to the mother featured. Please post a way we can do that.

    Anyone who can listen to this articulate, caring mother and not feel her devastation is heartless.

    I have NO problems at all.

  • Agustina

    I’m a student at SF state right now, but when I was younger, for a few years, my mom, my baby brother and sister moved in and out of shelters.  My siblings and I were american citizens, but my mother was an illegal immigrant and she had a very tough time finding a job, and our homeless situation didn’t end until us kids had to move in with our dads (they are my half siblings)  I feel like if i hadn’t moved in with my dad, I would never have gotten the opportunity to attend a university.  There doesn’t really seem to be a whole lot of help, and that was during the early 2000’s when the government had more money than they do now.

  • Rob

    This issue cannot be fixed by helping one person at a time. It is also nice to give to non-profits, but to really rid society of this problem we need to create policy changes.  We need to elect politicians who care about this issue and have our government make decisions where this population is the main consideration.

  • Beata Owens

    Hello – I was also moved by this story and would especially like to help the lady that is about to be evicted. It would be great if you could post a way for people to assist for her as well as others.
    Thanks for covering this important topic.

  • Gatti Cristina

    Hi my name is Cristina and I will be graduating at SFSU next week in social psychology. I would like to know if it is possible to volunteer as homelessfamily advocate in schools that cannot efford to pay one.


  • Iggy427

    It’s wonderful that everybody wants to help right now during the holidays but what they can really do to help is to get active in their local politics.
    This is a great example as why is there people camping in the parks right now.
    with all the money with subsidies another questionable government programs it out there these people don’t get help it’s atrocious!


  • DmarieSacks

    Immediate needs yes – long term solutions yes… I guess if we are not going to tax those with to supply to those with needs then we need to rather see who is in our community with need and those who can give – how we can have community within the schools so we know each other…

  • guest

    If you want to donate to this mother:

    Go to
    Click on ‘Donate Now’ link at the bottom of the page. Enter instructions that you want the mother featured on Forum today (Carlene) to receive your contribution.

  • legal aid

    I am an attorney at the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County and one of the big problems we see for homeless children is that some school districts make it very challenging for families to enroll homeless children in school because they cannot produce the necessary residency paperwork to prove students should be in the district (especially those homeless families who are sleeping on friend’s couches and staying with family members).  There is a law that allows homeless students to overcome the typical residency requirements for enrollment; however, some school districts do not make these exceptions readily available and create one more barrier for homeless families–being unable to enroll their student in school. Programs at legal services providers like the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County help overcome these barriers by advocating on the parents behalf for the child to be in school.  Our programs also help to keep people in their homes longer and help families get income supports and other safety net services they need to avoid becoming homeless.  It may not be the first place people think of to donate to when they want to help low-income families, but listeners should consider donating to places like the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County so we can help provide free legal services to as many people possible– so children can get access to schools and families can stay in their homes and not become homeless.  We’re an independent non-profit that relies on donations and grants to provide our services.

  • guest

    I actually burst into tears while I was driving at the point when Jill Tucker read the line “Mommy, I’m hungry and cold.”  I read the same line on Sunday.  I, too, have been suffering from homelessness while attempting to attend college.  There are not enough social service programs to meet the needs of those who really need it.

    • cynthia

      I started crying at this point in the story, too. I’ve never had a radio program make me cry before.

  • Danielle

    There were multiple services in addition to Compass(SF school org – don’t recall name and was driving for most of the show so I couldn’t write them down) that were featured today on the show. Would those that have the links/numbers/addresses for the other organizations assisting homeless families and children please post that info here for future reference? Thank you!

  • Devra Edelman

    This is Devra Edelman, Deputy Director of Programs for Hamilton Family Center. I called in during the show and wanted to give our contact info for thos who didn’t get it: or 409-2100 (our main phone line).

    Thank you so much to Dave Iverson and Jill Tucker for highlighting this issue in our community ~ and to all of those in our community who want to join together to help. For those interested in learning more about solutions and what the City can do, I suggest attending a SF Board of Supervisors Hearing called for by Supervisor Avalos this MONDAY, DECEMBER 12th at 10am – City Hall Room 250.

  • Moji

    how can I help the family needs $290 or the family with 2 young children that Jill Tucker covered? My children and I  would like to volunteer especially over the holidays. where is the best place to contact near San Jose?

  • larkin street

    With it always our goal to keep youth with their families, for
    those youth who cannot stay with their families or for families seeking help
    for their teens and young adults, Larkin Street Youth Services provides housing, medical, social and educational
    services through 25 programs across 15 sites in San Francisco for at-risk,
    homeless and runaway youth, ages 12-24. 


    For youth: If you need help right away, call 1 (800) 669-6196 to
    get connected to one of our shelters or drop in centers.


    To learn more about how Larkin Street benefits youth, please
    visit our website at 

  • Vineeta Mishra

    How can I help that kid or other such kids who are telling their moms they are cold and hungry and help them get school happily on time… i really want to help out whatever i can…

  • Erica Kisch

    behalf of Compass Family Services, thank you for the outpouring of support for
    Terrilyn and her son in response to this morning’s Forum program.  Terrilyn represents thousands of families in
    SF who are in need of the services Compass and other great non profits work so
    hard to provide.


    good news to relay is that Terrilyn and her son are secure for the night.  We’ll update her situation in this forum as
    we know more. 


    you want to donate or learn more about Compass Family Services’ programs that help
    San Francisco’s homeless and low-income families to achieve stability and
    self-sufficiency, visit Compass Family Services’ website at  Or call (415) 644-0504.  Or email


    deepest appreciation for your interest in making the difference in the lives of
    the families we serve. 

    Erica Kisch
    Executive Director
    Compass Family Services

  • James Wogan

    There are 425 homeless students in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, up from 339 in November. We served 515 homeless students last school year; providing tutoring, counseling and case management services. Our homeless children and families are from Clayton, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Bay Point – every city in the school district. We are leading a holiday donation drive in our community – – THANK YOU for helping to raise awareness. Yours truly, James Wogan, LCSW, District Homeless Liaison, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Homeless Outreach Program for Education (HOPE) & Foster Youth Services, 9256828000;3054,,

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