Las Cruces Homeless Student Outreach Program Provides Updates

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LAS CRUCES – The Las Cruces public schools program to support homeless students has undergone some changes this year, especially in terms of funding.

The McKinney Vento Act requires schools to immediately enroll homeless students, even if they do not have the documents required for enrollment.

McKinney Vento Project Link at LCPS works with the community, organizations and school staff to identify and provide services to these students.

Read more:Las Cruces Homeless Student Education Program to Receive Additional Federal Funding

In 2020, the LCPS identified 665 homeless students in the neighborhood.

Ray Banegas, Federal Programs Coordinator for LCPS, presented the update at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

A breakdown of McKinney Vento Project Link funding and how it is used for homeless Las Cruces public school students.

The America Rescue Plan for Homeless Children and Youth grant is a new source of funding for Project Link. The grant is part of federal COVID-19 relief funding.

LCPS public information officer Kelly Jameson said the district received $ 65,907 for the first round of funding. Banegas said a second round will take place in mid-August.

The funding will be used to pay for hotel stays for families facing homelessness, restricted Walmart gift cards for food, school supplies and clothing, and overtime agreements for the staff for program identification and community outreach.

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With the start of a new year, a critical enrollment period wipes out all families from the system, and they must be reassessed to see if they are still eligible for the services offered by Project Link. Project Link staff should reassess these families and assess any new referrals.

Families can still refer themselves for services from Project Link, but Banegas said school staff can now refer homeless students using the Student Information System – a change from previous years. In either case, the referral alerts McKinney Vento staff, who then perform an assessment to determine their eligibility.

Services Project Link provides:

  • Help with schooling
  • Assistance in receiving equitable educational services
  • Identify resources to meet the needs of each family
  • Basic school supplies, hygiene items and clothing
  • Help locate emergency aid and referrals to community service agencies
  • Transport assistance
  • Free meal

For more information on Project Link, visit www.lcps.net/federal-programs/project-link-homeless-education-program-mckinney-vento.

Miranda Cyr, a member of the Report for America Corps, can be contacted at [email protected] or @mirandabcyr on Twitter. Show your support for the Report for America program at https://bit.ly/LCSNRFA.

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