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Utah schools dealing with growing problem of homelessness

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By Courtney OrtonSALT LAKE CITY -- School districts across the state are working to combat a growing problem: homeless students. These are kids live with their families in cars, storage units, even bus or train stations.

There are more than 10,000 homeless students in the state. With 551,000 students total, it works out to be about one homeless student per classroom.

When you look at the numbers by district, it's even easier to see how big of a problem it is. In the Nebo School District, for instance, 1,600 of the almost 28,000 students are homeless. That's one out of every 17 students.

The Salt Lake School District has nearly 24,000; 779 of them are homeless, or one out of every 30.

In the Davis School District, more than 1,000 are homeless. That's one out of every 60 students.

"We're seeing students that were in housing and in homes that are now not. You know, homes have been foreclosed on, and so they're moving into doubled-up situations with family," said Mary Ann Nielson, homeless liaison for the Davis School District.

Nielson helps find housing for homeless families through a pilot program with the Family Connection Center. She admits, when there's almost 1,000 in need, it's hard to do.

"It's limited because of the funds we have. so I think maximum we have probably five families we can work with," Nielson said.

It's a problem no one has all the answers for, but Nielson says housing has to come first.

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