Reports state that 1 public school student in 25 is homeless.
A grant program started in 2016 was renewed this year that will help with that effort, and a local school will receive funding. Including new data reporting on homeless students of color.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Washington state Department of Commerce announced that they recently awarded almost $1.7 million to 26 organizations around the state.
These grants are meant to “supplement school districts’ ability to provide in-school support, prioritizing unaccompanied youth and unsheltered students and families”.
The Taholah School District will receive $25,200 as part of the grant program.
The grants were made available through House Bill 1682, passed in 2016.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal was a member of the House of Representatives at the time, and was one of the bill’s sponsors.
“Without stable housing, students lose an estimated three to six months of academic progress each time they move to a new school,” Reykdal said. “The grants will provide crucial in-school support for those students.”
The bill established the Homeless Student Stability Program and authorizes two sets of annual grants, if funding is available:
From the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, to build homeless education program capacity at school districts; and
From the Department of Commerce, to support Homeless Housing Partnerships (HHP) between school districts and housing entities.
“Growing inside our thriving state economy is a homeless crisis that touches thousands of Washington families,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. ”Schools are the heart of our neighborhoods and these grants are strengthening communities by providing stability for kids and their families who are struggling.”
The grants also will be used to fund caseworkers, or “homeless housing navigators,” in schools, as well as to provide essential needs, such as transportation to get students to school after they move, or assistance to avoid utilities being shut off in family homes.
OSPI received 47 applications from across the state, requesting more than $3.9 million in total. State funding allowed for 12 awards totaling about $850,000. The funds will be used for a variety of programs, such as providing professional development for staff, partnerships with community-based organizations and tutors for homeless students.
Organizations receiving grants include:
Bethel School District,$92,127
Evergreen School District (Clark),$83,943
Mount Adams School District,$65,422
North Thurston Public Schools,$98,654
Seattle Public Schools,$91,697
Selah School District,$4,000
South Whidbey School District,$64,000
Spokane School District,$55,000
Tacoma School District,$104,207
Taholah School District,$25,200
Department of Commerce
The department received 14 applications from school districts and their non-profit community service organizations across the state, with a total request of about $2 million. State funding allowed for nine awards totaling $875,000. The awards will help school districts identify homeless students and unaccompanied youth and rapidly connect them with housing services and agencies in their communities.
Districts awarded grants are:
Evergreen Public Schools,partnering with Council for the Homeless, $270,000
Bellingham Public Schools,partnering with Opportunity Council and Northwest Youth Services, $195,000
Highline Public Schools,partnering with Neighborhood House, $118,000
Wenatchee School District,partnering with Women’s Resource Center, $72,000
Everett Public Schools,partnering with Cocoon House, $60,000
Woodland School District,partnering with Love Overwhelming, $55,000
Shelton School District,partnering with Mason County Housing Options for Students in Transition, $45,000
Mount Vernon School District,partnering with YMCA Oasis Teen Shelter, $35,000
South Whidbey School District,partnering with Opportunity Council, $25,000