The trauma of homelessness, severe poverty, and high mobility combine to wreak havoc on the academic progress of children and youth in school. According to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Education (2012), more and more students continue to struggle with the burden of finding a stable place to live, and the number of homeless students in America has topped 1 million for the first time as a result of the prolonged economic recession. The largest and most important safety net for homeless children and youth is the public school system, which provides both basic services as well as the education that is necessary to avoid poverty as adults.
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According to McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, homeless children and youth means “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence” and includes –
- Children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing or economic hardship, living in emergency or transitional shelters, abandoned in hospitals, or awaiting foster care placement;
- Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
- Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
- Migratory children who qualify as homeless due to living circumstances described.
Help the Homeless Project
You can help the Title I Homeless Project by:
- Donating school supplies, new clothing, blankets, and non-perishable foods to the department
- Making a financial donation to the project
- Becoming a volunteer
Homelessness among families has increased considerably in recent years and is most often due to unexpected financial setbacks that create a situation where the family can no longer pay for their housing. Research indicates that the enriching experiences of a high-quality education can be especially beneficial for homeless children, because they provide stability and daily routines that may otherwise be scarce in these children's lives.
Title I Homeless Project Services
The APS Title I Homeless Project offers many services to homeless children and their families, including:
- Enrollment assistance
- School supplies
- School uniforms
- After-school tutoring programs, Alphabet Alley Kids preschool and parental support programs, summer experiential and reading/math programs, and referrals to Health Care for the Homeless, APS Clothing Bank, special education and Child Find.