In a corner of Western Avenue Elementary School’s yard, a dozen children excitedly circle Charles Evans at the end of their day.

Regional coordinator Charles Evans (C) picks up children from school to take them to an after-school program at South Los Angeles Learning Center in Los Angeles, California March 16, 2011. The center is run by School on Wheels, which uses volunteers to tutor homeless children in shelters, parks, motels, and two centers. There has been a surge in the number of homeless children in Los Angeles in the last five years, due to persistent unemployment and mounting foreclosures. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

One child bounces a ball, another picks a handful of play slime out of a jar as the others chirp with enthusiasm.

While other children have gone home for the day, Evans rounds up this group who have no homes. He leads them down the street to South Los Angeles Learning Center, where he runs an after-school program for homeless children.

Jayla (L) gathers her books for her weekly tutoring at the shelter where she lives with her mother Rosonia (R) in Los Angeles, California March 16, 2011.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Almost 13,500 students out of around 680,000 in the LA Unified School District were homeless in the 2009-10 school year, a more than 50% increase from five years ago, due largely to unemployment and foreclosures.

The center run by School on Wheels used to open one day a week, but Evans now collects the kids daily after school for two hours, until their shelters open. The program got its name from the tutors who visit children such as Jayla weekly, in shelters, parks and libraries.