The New York State Education Department has awarded $7.1 million to districts in federal grant funding to help programs supporting homeless students.
There were 27 school districts, five boards of Cooperative Educational Services, three district-led consortiums, and one charter school, who received funding.
“The pandemic and economic turmoil that came with it exacerbated uncertainty for many families and increased the number of students who face housing insecurity. Studies show that education is the most important long-term prevention strategy to address youth homelessness,” Chancellor Lester Young Jr. said. “Using this funding, schools and districts are better able to ensure that our state’s homeless children have equal access to the same educational opportunities as their peers.”
Activities provided with the funds must facilitate students’ improved attendance, engagement, and academic success in temporary housing. Applicants developed plans to address a student’s social-emotional, academic, physical, and mental health needs in the proposals they submitted for their McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program.
Locally, the Auburn Enlarged City School District, North-Rose Woloctt Central School District, and Sodus Central School District won grant funding.
- Auburn will receive $374,649 over the next three years;
- North-Rose Wolcott will receive $375,000 over the next three years; and
- Sodus Central School will receive $375,000 over the next three years.
Each awarded application demonstrated a well-developed project that included activities such as, but not limited to, facilitating mentoring or tutoring programs; coordinating counseling services; family support programming; professional development; transportation to and from extracurricular activities; preschool outreach; weekend food programs; and physical improvements to shelter or school space to create a safe and supportive educational environment.
“Students should be free to learn without anxiety or fear of their temporary housing status. These grants will be used to ease some of those concerns, so students are better able to focus on learning. From services like tutoring to health care to establishing learning environments at shelters and providing violence prevention programs, the strategies these awardees develop will provide critical assistance for homeless students and their families,” Commissioner Rosa added.
The McKinney-Vento Grant Program award amounts are based upon the three-year average number of students in temporary housing identified for each LEA. LEAs with less than 100 students had the opportunity to enter into consortiums to apply for the funds. The awards range from $125,000 for districts serving 100-500 students in temporary housing to $2.5 million for districts serving more than 50,000 students in temporary housing. Many LEA applications included plans for creating and implementing trauma-sensitive programs. The grant period will be September 1, 2022 – August 31, 2025. Funding for years two and three will be awarded at the same level as year one.
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