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One family sleeping in their car reflects a larger trend in SWFL

Hundreds of school children in Southwest Florida are homeless. Many of these families say going to school is critical for the survival of homeless children.

Across Lee, Collier and Charlotte Counties more than 500 kids in public school are homeless. While this number sounds large, it has actually gone down because of the state eviction memorandum.

One single mom and her two daughters are living out of a car. “I have to hold up and be strong for them,” said Tiffany Hodges. “I have to be strong for them, and hold on, and have faith to believe things will get better.”

However, things haven’t been better for quite some time for Hodges and her daughters. They live, eat, sleep, and even use the bathroom in an overdue rental car.

“The fear is there, three women, females in the car alone, you never know who’s watching,” she said.

It’s especially painful for her older daughter Kalliyah. “She has epilepsy and she has developmental a chromosome depletion,” Hodges said. “It can get uncomfortable for her, with her and braces with having to, you know she needs to be in a bed.”

Her priority is to find a safe place to live. Her daughters are supposed to focus on school. “Stay focused on education. Because they both have dreams of wanting to be, one wants to be an OBGYN, and the other she wants to do culinary,” she said.

Tiffany is aware of the judgment she receives but it doesn’t bother her. She focuses on her two loves, God and her daughters. She also focuses on the future. “You know, having those moments, like karaoke. They really miss karaoke. We love karaoke.”

Tiffany Hodges left Texas two months ago to get her daughter with special needs into a better school district in Florida. She had affordable housing lined up but it fell through.

Her part-time job covers food and gas but it’s not enough to afford a place to live. The rental car they’re staying in is already past due.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Drew Hill
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