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“Expect the unexpected could be the motto for The Emergency Action Network, a practical support program that matches homeless students’ personal or housing needs with people who can fill that need. About 40 students are homeless in the Brunswick school district.

TEAN formed out of a crisis one family experienced this summer, explained Pender Makin, assistant superintendent of schools. All of their belongings were on the side of the road; they had been evicted from the apartment they were renting.

It was raining, and whatever items they had stacked on the roadside were quickly getting soaked. Makin received a phone call from a family member: Did she have a tent to keep the items from getting ruined?”

(Pender) Makin, also Brunswick’s McKinney-Vento coordinator, said Tuesday,  “Unfortunately, we’re trending toward a higher number (of homeless teens in the school system) this year based on last year” and that “the situations seem more dire.” Last spring, there were over 40 homeless teens in the Brunswick school system, up from six in 2007.

TOPSHAM — Over the last decade, the homeless youth population in School Administrative District 75 has increased from 12 in 2003 to an average of 50 a year since 2008, according to data compiled by the district health coordinator. Until recently, each community in the district has responded for the most part independently to the needs of homeless youth in their school systems. But as the number of homeless students continues rises, area towns are working together to create awareness of the problem and explore common solutions.

Though she never reported it, and was never reported to school staff or police, in those months Driscoll actually met the federal definition of homelessness. She did not have a “fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence,” and was thus eligible for protections and transportation accommodations from the School Department. “It’s not something I would go to school and tell my friends about,” she said.