GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Students returned to school buildings this year, and school leaders have been keeping track of the homeless students in their districts.

Melissa Horton is a proud mom of three Guilford County Schools students.

She provides for her family the best she can.

“I have some leftover pizza someone gave me, so when they come home from school, they have something to eat,” Horton said.

She and her children have been living out of her Nissan Altima for the last two years

“I have to panhandle to ask for money for gas, to make sure they get to school because we don’t have a stable address for the school bus to pick them up,” Horton said.

Her boys make up three of the more than 2,500 students who are homeless in Guilford County schools. The number is up from about 1,000 in the 2020-2021 school year.

A GCS Spokesperson tells FOX8 the district has nearly 68,000 students.

School leaders say students and families identify themselves by informing their respective school or homeless services office by completing a student-in-transition affidavit.

They say students experiencing homelessness can lose four to six months of academic progress with one school move during the school year.

It can also result in low grades and test scores, and the students are less likely than stable students to graduate on time.

We checked around other school districts to see where their numbers stand.

In Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, about 520 students don’t have a place to call home compared to about 960 last year.

In Davidson County Schools this year, at least 86 students are unhoused compared to nearly 180 last year

Over at Randolph County Schools, to date there are 90 students compared to 257 the previous year.

The Alamance Burlington School System has about 230 homeless students this year, which is less than about 300 from last year.

“I talk to guidance counselors. I just ask them to be patient with us because they are going through things they didn’t ask for,” Horton said. “They’re going through things I couldn’t prevent. I ask that they be patient. There are a lot of kids…like that. That’s where a lot of bullying comes in at.”

Horton has set up a GoFundMe page to help her with costs and to get the resources she needs to find permanent housing for her and her sons.

The Office of Homeless Services and Community Support provides school supplies, basic hygiene needs, basic clothing, enrichment, career and college field trips, after-school and shelter tutoring, summer educational opportunities and camps and provide referrals for extended services (housing assistance, mental health assistance, etc.).

They are also in the process of scheduling s community meeting to inform families about the McKinney-Vento Act and its educational provisions.