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Homeless Say Yes scholars achieving higher education

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

It is estimated that between five and seven percent of the Buffalo Public School population is homeless.  As WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley tells us some of those homeless students will be heading to college later this month.  

“They’re mostly as survivors,” said Stan Simmons, Director of Say Yes Buffalo at SUNY Buffalo State.

Some of the Say Yes Buffalo students are homeless. Simmons said so far he's dealt with three homeless students who are attending Buffalo State.

Credit WBFO News file photo
Buffalo State campus.

“That’s were organizations like Say Yes is very instrumental putting key people in positions support systems, recognizing the wholeness of the young person, is very instrumental that our students walk in knowing that there is at least an organization that realizes the safety net that needs to be there and there are people who can help you,” Simmons explained.

Some of the homeless students have the support and contact of their families, but are living in poverty. However, Simmons says at least one student he has encountered was completely homeless, meaning he had no family to offer any support, so achieving a Say Yes scholarship is a major accomplishment.

“Their approach to typical situations would be very different than someone who is surviving in a different way,” said Simmons. “So someone who has many safety nets would be more encourage to take a bigger risk, because if they miss their goal or mark there is a safety net there. Someone who does not have safety nets will be less likely to take risks because there is not safety net if they fail,” Simmons commented.

Simmons tells WBFO News the Say Yes scholarships allows these students to step on a college campus and experience higher education, giving them a chance to improve their lives.  

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