It is estimated that there is about 1.3 to 1.7 millions of students every year that are homeless, and this number is not decreasing. Being homeless it makes it nearly impossible for a student to be able to pay for things like housing, food, and further schooling. This leads to students dropping out of school in order to be able to get jobs and support themselves. So you may be asking what are schools and the government doing to help these students? Amy Greif, the counselor of Farmington Senior High School, helps the homeless students in Farmington, MO and she gave us information on what she does to help the homeless students at Farmington.
First the school will classify whether or not a student is homeless. They decide this by using the qualifications the McKinney Vento Act (act where the United States provides federal money for homeless shelters and etc.).
Homelessness is children and youth who lack a nighttime residence that is (1) Fixed (stationary, permanent, not subject to change). (2) Regular (used on a nightly basis), and (3) Adequate (meets the physical and psychological needs typically met in a home environment). Mrs. Greif says she deals more with students who are “doubled up”. This means that due to the loss of a place to stay or money problems, students will move in with friends, significant others or “couch surf”. (Which is when someone will jump from house to house trying to find somewhere to sleep)
Here is some of the things the school and Mrs. Greif help provide to help the homeless or doubled up students at Farmington Senior High School.
*Automatically eligible for free lunches
*Participate fully in school, including extra-curricular activities (assist with getting physicals, paying for insurance for them to play a particular sport if they do not already have insurance, assistance with any fee that may be involved with the particular activity).
* Provide and assist with getting transportation to and from school.
*Help with getting required immunizations.
*Assisting with medical, dental or mental health issues.
*Access to showers and laundry facilities when available at school.
*Access to the school library or other quiet place to study and use computers before and after school.
*Provide hygiene items, school supplies, and clothing if needed.
*Academic support and tutoring
*Assistance in connecting with services available in the community, such as applying for Medicaid and Food Stamps.
*Provide opportunities for enhanced credit accrual and recovery.
*Able to receive our Backpack Program (on Fridays backpacks are filled with nonperishable food items for them to have over the weekend).
And for our seniors heading to college…
*Allow them to use school mailing address if they do not have a home address.
*Can complete the FAFSA as independent students, meaning they are not required to provide a parental signature or parental financial information (the students’ homeless status has to be verified by a McKinney Vento homeless liaison).
*Assist with paying for the fee required to take the ACT test.
*Request an application fee waiver from colleges.