- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A homeless outreach specialist is working to create a more accurate picture of Lincoln’s homeless population.

The Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1OlCXuR ) reports Lincoln Public Schools homeless outreach specialist Bryan Seck worked with nearly 500 homeless families in the city last year. Seck says he will help substantially more families this year due to better outreach and collaboration of more than 50 agencies in the city, not necessarily because there are more homeless families in Lincoln.

The specialist, who began working with the district two years ago, says that most of the families that he works with are not homeless for very long and that they never been homeless before he meets with. He says their state of homelessness is usually brought on by an unforeseen set of circumstances such as a car breaking down, which is exacerbated by a lack of savings.

The outreach specialist says the reason families get stuck in the difficult position of being homeless is because they do not have enough money saved up to survive a situation like mental health issues, substance abuse, a death in the family, medical bills or even divorce.

Seck says that in his experience, domestic violence is a major factor and the number one reason the families that he works with are homeless. According to him, the people are overwhelmingly women who have left a violent situation with nothing but their children and their income cut in half.

According to Seck, “Our job as a community is to get them back. Stability is the goal.” He says that he can’t solve the problem, but there are ample resources in Lincoln that he can refer families to and that he can follow up with them to ensure they don’t get frustrated.

Seck urges educators to do the same.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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