Students Receive Much-needed Help With Affordable Housing

Many people are at risk of losing their homes. The elderly, who live on fixed income, are a large at-risk group. However, many people forget that infants, toddlers and school-age children are also at a high risk of homelessness. If there's one parent working, one job loss is all it takes to get evicted and become homeless. In Montana, Shelby County Schools is administering a program through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act. It helps children who qualify for the Title IX program to avoid becoming homeless.

What the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act Is

All schools that receive federal funding must follow the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act. This law ensures that a child who is homeless receives an equal education to children who have homes. Homeless children have a difficult time providing documentation for school, such as vaccination records. With no address, communications between schools and families are difficult. Homeless students may have a tough time doing homework or studying. In this age of remote and hybrid learning related to the COVID-19 pandemic, children who are homeless may be unable to complete the online portions of their education.

What the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act Does for Students

In Shelby, the school district uses the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act to make sure that children are able to continue receiving free lunches. They also use the act's funds to ensure that kids get the vaccinations they need and that they have the documentation of those vaccinations. Children who need medical care may be able to receive it at the school's clinic. In order for families to qualify for other services, such as help at a food bank, they need proof of residence. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act administered by Shelby School District provides this to students.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act Increases Stability

Young children thrive in a stable environment and falter in an unstable one. The way Shelby School District administers the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act as of September 10 ensures that students can stay in their same school even if they move out of the attendance borders. This provides an ongoing relationship with peers and teachers. The school district is better able to track at-risk students and make sure they have what they need in order to learn and thrive.

How Children Can Qualify for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act Assistance

To qualify for the assistance provided by Shelby School District as of September 10, the family needs to provide proof that they don't have housing in a place that is fixed or constant. This also includes families who don't have regular or consistent housing in one location. A family could also be considered homeless if they live in a place that doesn't have hot or cold water or electricity. If a child is living in place with major infrastructure or pest problems, they could be considered homeless under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act. Some examples of how a student could qualify include living in a car with their parent and siblings, moving from one family member's home to another every couple of weeks, moving from campground to campground or motel to motel or providing an eviction notice.

What the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act Provides to Students

Once a family provides qualifying information about the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act, they can start receiving specific types of help from the Shelby School District. For the 2020-21 school year, families can get help with appropriate clothing and shoes for their child. They can also get personal hygiene products, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste. Students are given school supplies and backpacks. Kids and families receive food, including food to take home for the evening, weekends and holiday breaks. Families can also get relief from school-related fees for field trips, instrument rental and other educational expenses.

What a Child Needs to Do to Start the Process

A child in the Shelby School District can reach out to their school counselor to get the ball rolling on the benefits provided by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act. Families can also reach out directly to the school counselors or principals. Once the process gets started, it doesn't take long for a family or child to start getting the help they need. The goal of the Shelby School District is to make sure that every child has what they need in order to live up to their highest potential.

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