Nevada's Homeless Children Need More Help - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Nevada's Homeless Children Need More Help

Neda Iranpour
Channel 2 News

New national rankings have came out showing Nevada is 45th in the nation when it comes to homeless children. It includes everything from the number of homeless kids to how we help them.

Sadly, one in 33 Nevada kids don't know from where their next meal will come from. The number of homeless children grew by 100 in just one month, as of the end of February saw more than 1,360 kids homeless kids in Washoe County.

One of them is 18-year-old Hug High School student Makiyah Jackson. She sits in her government class, bright eyed and eager to learn. Makiyah knows education will help get her out of her current life. "I was living with my mom for awhile then my mom got in trouble and ended up in jail so I'm living with my grandma."

Her grandma can only provide a roof over her head. So Makiyah quickly saw her life change, from cheer captain to off the squad and failing school. "At first I stopped coming (to school) because it got to be a lot for me, but then I realized that if I don't graduate then I'll be stuck."

So now she's making up for it. "I'm pulling my grades back into sunlight."

Makiyah, like many homeless children, rely on her Children in Transition advocate. Advocate Carla Stark says, "Many of them don't have a parent to go home to and they're living with relatives. Some of them go from couch-to-couch."

They get warm clothes like jeans, beanies and gloves from donations. Gloria Bratiotis, Director of CIT says, "We're well supported, Neda that's the beautiful thing, our community does rally around the children."

In fact, many doctors offer free medical and dental care. But CIT needs additional federal grants, especially now that more students are falling victim to the economy.

CIT's director says another big part of Nevada's poor rankings is because of rural counties. Bratiotis says there's just not enough money to provide them with any assistance.

Makiyah says, "There's a lot of times where you don't feel necessarily the same because of money issues and stuff like that."

Only one in four homeless Washoe County teens graduate from high school, but Makiyah is determined to be a success story.

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