Panel to discuss ways to solve youth homelessness - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Panel to discuss ways to solve youth homelessness

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On Sunday, a panel discussion will be held to discuss ways to solve the problem of youth homelessness in the state.

Dino Teppara with the SC Department of Education said about 11,500 students are homeless statewide.

"Each school district has a liaison that works with these students to make sure they are taken care of, that they are getting the best education possible," Teppara said. "We are doing everything we can to make sure they are getting a quality education, supporting them through these very difficult times. It's really a team effort and we are doing the best we can."

For families with children who find themselves in a tough situation, usually they try to stay with friends or family and "couch surf" and are rarely out in the street, said Anita Floyd with the Coalition for the Homeless, a United Way organization.

"Youth can be homeless within their family," Floyd said. "The whole family becomes homeless. Typically it's loss of job. It can be a crisis; it can be a loss of housing. If it's a youth in particular, a lot of times they are leaving a family where there's something going wrong, whether it's some kind of dysfunction, some kind of abuse, some kind of alcoholism, things that make it really hard for that young person to stay there in that stable safe place."

The event starts at 3 p.m. at the Richland Main Library on Assembly Street in the Bostick Auditorium. The event is open to the public.

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