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Rehousing Youth for Success in Education (RYSE)

Roanoke Children Homeless Rehousing Youth for Success in Education

RYSE, which stands for Rehousing Youth for Success in Education, is an initiative that works with local schools to identify homeless children and put their family on the pathway to self-sufficiency.

Every day in our valley, more than 600 students leave school unsure of where they’ll lay their head that night. While support is available for some, approximately 80% of these children and their families are not eligible for existing support because they fall through a crack in the system…they aren’t living on the streets. Their instability is hidden, as they find temporary shelter in motels or often move from one home to another as reluctant houseguests in need a place of their own.

Each homeless family is quickly transitioned into stable housing while case managers work to address the underlying challenges that prevent the family from attaining self-sufficiency, such as: employment training, food assistance, academic support, financial education, and other crisis interventions.


  • Inconsistent attendance leads to gaps in learning, causing the student to remain in a frustrating and demoralizing state of enrichment
  • Unmet medical, dental and mental health challenges emerge as students face chronic hunger, fatigue, poor hygiene, vulnerability to illness and feelings of shame and depression
  • Student’s ability to be prepared for school is severely impaired by the absence of privacy and personal space, homework is often incomplete and necessary school supplies are not readily available
  • Social and behavioral concerns commonly arise as students become wary of developing close relationships with peers and teachers and often view poor behavior as a diversionary tactic

Roanoke Homeless children dataUnited Way is committed to change these conditions by leading a comprehensive approach to homelessness affecting children in our region. The Rehousing Youth for Success in Education (RYSE) initiative brings together the resources and the expertise needed for real progress.

Through partnership with Roanoke City Public Schools and many local service providers, RYSE provides housing and life stabilizing support services for families with school-aged children who face homelessness. Case managers work to secure services related to the family’s underlying challenges in the areas of academic support, employment, health/wellness, adult education, income stability, food assistance and other crisis interventions.

RYSE targets the 80% of homeless children who are not eligible for government-funded homelessness intervention programs. There are approximately 230 families in the Roanoke Valley who could benefit from the RYSE program.


You can help:

Be a champion for our homeless children in the Roanoke Valley. If you are able to, sponsor a family by providing for their housing and other critical support. Gather your friends, coworkers or faith community to team together to support a family. Click here to give online or contact Mary Baako at 540-777-4204,


This program is being implemented with the generous support of Islamic Relief USA, Junior League of Roanoke Valley, and the Edgar A. Thurman Charitable Foundation.