The State of Alabama has received more than $13 million to provide necessary services to homeless children and youth who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These funds will be “dedicated to support the identification, enrollment, and school participation” of children experiencing homelessness in Alabama, according to State Homeless Education coordinator for Children and Youth, Kristen Dial.
A news release from the Alabama Department of Education identified several areas where the finds would be used, including:
- Providing wraparound services like collaboration with community-based organizations, academic support, trauma or social-emotional support, and mental health services
- Purchasing necessary supplies, including glasses, personal protective equipment, and school supplies
- Providing transportation to participate in school activities
- Purchasing technological devices like cell phones for participation in school activities
- Providing a reliable internet connection for students in underserved communities
- Paying for short-term, temporary housing in emergency cases
- Providing prepaid debit or store cards to purchase necessary materials
“There are students who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in transient situations,” said Dr. Eric Mackey, State Superintendent of Education. “These students technically qualify as homeless… it could be a student moving from a relative’s house to a homeless shelter… any number of possible scenarios by which a student’s ability to learn is disrupted by unavoidable circumstances.”
The first round of funds are expected to be available by June 1, 2021 with another round coming in late summer or early fall.