About the McKinney-Vento Homeless Program

Homeless Project DonationsHomeless Project Donations 3

Title I McKinney-Vento Program Services

The APS Title I McKinney-Vento Homeless Program offers many services to homeless children and their families, including:

  • Enrollment assistance
  • Transportation to school of origin
  • School supplies
  • School uniforms
  • After-school tutoring programs
  • Alphabet Alley Kids preschool and parental support programs
  • Summer experiential and reading/math programs
  • Family Stabilization Program
  • Referrals for housing
  • Referrals to Health Care for the Homeless, APS Clothing Bank, special education and Child Find

Helen Fox

Helen Fox began her career in APS in 1982. She first worked with classroom teachers and district leaders as a Resource Teacher in the Special Education department. In 1994 she was approached by district leaders to head the then very small, Homeless and Migrant Program. Helen was tasked with administering a small grant through Title I, the federal McKinney-Vento Act -- to find, locate and identity homeless children in the Albuquerque Public Schools area. She was initially told there may be just a handful of students - possibly close to 100, that would qualify and need support from this program. Helen relied on her child welfare and special education experience to begin to find and identify homeless families along the Central Corridor - families living in the many run-down motels, abandoned buildings, cars and shelters along Central Blvd. in Albuquerque. Helen quickly became aware that there were several hundred students and families that needed support navigating the school system - enrolling without an address, getting to school, and getting the needed school supplies, clothing, etc. to remain in and become successful in school. She also quickly realized that the small grant would not be nearly enough to cover what needed to be done. As funds started disappearing, Helen began the ceaseless process of grant writing and fundraising to continue to grow the Title I Homeless Project. Her very first award was a grant for $5,000 to purchase shoes.

When Helen retired, she was successfully writing numerous grants each school year, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, to run the various programs in the Title I Homeless Project. The Title I Homeless Project grew from just a staff of 2, to a staff of nearly 20 full and part time employees. The program currently runs 7 after school tutoring sites throughout APS, providing a catered meal, support in literacy instruction and transportation home. There is an on-site crisis preschool Alphabet Alley, that was started in 1999 with Helen driving a 16 passenger van stopping at motels along Central, knocking on doors and looking for preschoolers that might need a morning outside of the motel environment. There are 14 lunch programs that serve middle and high school students at schools with high homeless populations, providing mentorship and career exploration to those students - many of which are unaccompanied youth - completely living apart from a parent or guardian. All of this grew under the care of Helen Fox. When Helen saw a need, she found, or created, a solution to address that need.

Helen retired in 2014 after 32 years of dedicated service to Albuquerque Public Schools. Through her direct efforts, she helped thousands of homeless students - not only by providing academic resources, food, clothing and school supplies - but she brought hope, kindness and a never ending faith that these students could rise above any unfortunate circumstances and truly succeed. Helen is absolutely tireless, and continues to be an inspiration to us all. Helen herself sums up the time spent with students in APS the best. She once said, “these students are the most joyous, wonderful children you could ever work with, because if any of us had to live any given day like some of them do -- and somebody would expect us to get up and come to school and have a smile on our face and act like everything’s just wonderful -- I’m not sure I could do it. But these kids do it every day. They are absolutely, incredibly resilient.”

Helen had the incredible ability to speak to the emotions of others- she was able to organize and create new programs when none existed - she was a fearless leader, not afraid of failure, not afraid to ask for what she knew these students needed. Helen grew the APS Title I Homeless Project from literally a few thousand dollars and a handful of students - to over a several thousand students being identified each and every year, in every school, in APS.

Thousands of students and families now have a support system that didn’t exist before Helen Fox. Our most vulnerable students are now succeeding every day in APS - in part due to the successful programs Helen created during her career in the Albuquerque Public Schools.