The Families In Transition (FIT) Closet & Clothing Exchange is a program of the Manhattan-Ogden school district. The FIT Closet began as a service to students from HeadStart/Pre-K through high school who were experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity.

At the end of the 2018-19 school year, 387+ students had self-identified as experiencing homelessness or housing-insecurity (FIT).  The FIT Closet helps the school district meet the needs of qualified students by providing necessary school supplies, clothing, shoes, coats, hygiene supplies, and other essentials, so these students can attend class and integrate successfully.

The Kansas Department of Education defines homeless children and youth as those who are living in the following circumstances:

  • doubled up (living with another family)

  • shelter or transitional housing

  • “unsheltered” (cars, parks, campgrounds, temporary trailer, or abandoned buildings)

  • hotels/motels

The FIT Closet & Clothing Exchange is a 100% community- supported project. The College Avenue United Methodist Church donates the building in which the FIT Closet is housed. We are staffed by one part-time/paid coordinator and an amazing team of 50+ volunteers.  Caring individuals, churches, businesses and organizations in the community all donate supplies. Without this “honor roll” of supportive, caring individuals and entities, the FIT Closet would not exist! Because of Manhattan’s generosity, the FIT Closet is able to assist not only students and their families who are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, but also migrant students and their families, students and families living in poverty, students in foster care, children with a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), and Job Corps students who are enrolled in USD 383 programming.

Number of “FIT” students attending Kansas K-12 public schools:

2007:  3,569

2008:  4,890

2009:  6,700

2010:  8,452

2011:  8,996

2012:  8,911

2013:  9,330

2014:  10,378

2015:  9,715

2016:  9,265

2017:  8,640

2018: 8,471

In November of 2018, USD 383 ranked 5th in the state with 360 homeless/housing-insecure youth attending our schools. Wichita ranks first with 1869 homeless students, followed by Kansas City (942), Topeka (648), and Olathe (427).

Source: EHCY Data (Education for Homeless Children & Youth) taken from the Kansas Department of Education website:  www.KSDE.org