In the affluent community of south Chandler, Ariz., it's easy to imagine students being most preoccupied with prom dates and college apps. Instead, some in the student body are worrying where they will sleep tonight.
Instances of homelessness are surfacing amongst Chandler Unified School District's student body and are on the rise, the Arizona Republic reports. The district had 563 homeless students last year and that number is climbing, school officials told the publication.
Moreover, nearly half of the 38,000 students from the school district qualify for free or reduced lunches. Many of those students come from what are considered more upscale areas, including those by Hamilton High School, according to the Arizona Republic.
Dia Mundle has been working with students at the high school, making sure those lacking basic necessities get what they need on a regular basis.
"It's gotten bigger every year for the district," Mundle said. "People think Hamilton is a ritzy school, but we have so much poverty here."
One Hamilton student, who asked not to be identified, spent the last year sleeping on relatives' sofas. His English teacher alerted Mundle of the situation so she could offer help, the social worker told the Arizona Republic.
"On the outside, you can't tell he's homeless. He's always neat and clean and he takes care of his things. Kids like him don't usually make it, but he's very resilient."
Wealthier families aren't immune to the impact of the recession, Mundle told the Arizona Republic.
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"We have families who have lost everything, dads who had [investment] properties that didn't go well, an engineer who hasn't been employed for a year," Mundle said. "This isn't your poor immigrant."