Aaron didn't intend to tell his classmates that he was homeless. But when he recorded his own story with StoryCorpsU — a project designed to help kids in high-needs schools build stronger relationships with their teachers — he says, it just came out.
"I felt ... like a big load was let off," Aaron explains. (NPR has withheld Aaron's last name, at the request of his foster care agency, to protect his privacy.) "I don't know what made me say it, but I'm like, 'Let me just be honest and just get it out.' "
Yelitza Castro, an undocumented immigrant who works as a housekeeper in Charlotte, N.C., cooks dinners for homeless men and women every other Saturday night. It's a tradition that started after she and her children spotted a man standing in the rain on a cold day with a sign asking for help.
Yelitza gave the man $5, she recalls, but her children wanted to take him out to dinner. She turned around to go back, but he was already gone.
"And we were thinking we have to do something," she says.
Any day now, Fresno plans to raze a large homeless encampment that's grown up near downtown. The poor, farm-dependent city in California's Central Valley has one of the highest per capita homeless populations in the country.
In recent weeks, city officials there have dismantled three other sprawling shantytowns. The moves have displaced hundreds of people and sparked controversy.
Underneath Highway 180
Fresno is one of the poorest places in America. One in 4 people here live below the poverty line, and the recession only made things worse.