Public and private schools are back in session throughout Hampton Roads! This back-to-school season is often accompanied by high emotions for families as to what the new school year will bring: excitement, nervousness, anticipation and so much more.

But for families experiencing homelessness or violence, this already stressful time brings on a whole new set of challenges.

When we think about homelessness, we often think about the most visible portion of the homeless population – adults. It is difficult to pinpoint a number, but in 2016, officials counted 1,885 homeless people in area cities including Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach. On average, roughly 58 percent of the homeless population in metropolitan areas are families, usually a single mom with children.

The impacts to a child’s education when their basic human needs for food, shelter and safety are unmet are monumental. Can you imagine focusing on homework assignments and projects when you are unsure of where you will sleep that night?


The children were overjoyed at their new backpacks and school gear!

Violence is also the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in America. And domestic violence or sexual violence in a child’s environment interferes with some of the core aspects of their identity. Children who experience violence at home may exhibit signs of anxiety and have a short attention span, potentially resulting in poor school performance and attendance.

Samaritan House has been a non-profit leader in the community by providing families with the resources they need to thrive and excel in school. This past month, we helped fill close to 100 backpacks for Hampton Roads children to start the school year with confidence.

The Samaritan House’s Children’s Department recently worked with private donors and local groups such as Adopt-a-Student, Merck and Image Services Staffing to provide the necessary school supplies and resources for children as they kick off the 2017-18 school year.


Thank you Merck for your continued generosity and support, and for donating to our back-to-school program with backpacks!

Our goal is to support families who have experienced homelessness, violence of any kind, or human trafficking. We are able to do this with the generosity of donors and partner organizations. We thank you for your continued support, and to all the students, teachers, faculty and parents entering a new school year – best of luck!

If you would like to provide continued support to help make this year the best one yet for these and other children in our community, please consider making a donation to Samaritan House on our website here.