$13,000 grant provides aid to county’s homeless students

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Being homeless does not necessarily mean living under a bridge or living in a cardboard box on the side of the road.

There are homeless children in Butler County that people don’t know about, but the Board of Education is trying to help.

In 2010, the BOE applied for a grant to help students battle the difficulties of being homeless, and still having the basic necessities to excel in school.

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A $26,000 grant came to Butler County in 2012 and a $13,000 grant came in 2011.

Being homeless could mean living “doubled up” with another family, living in a car, camper, motel or substandard housing, living with those other than parents and those lacking a fixed, regular nighttime residence, according to the BOE.

“It is to bridge the gap with students who are lacking in a fixed night residence and the subsequent issues that brings to school,” Federal Programs Director Amy Bryan said. “For example, the children whose house burned and they lost everything. Before they come to school, they have to have uniforms and supplies and basic hygiene items.”

According to Bryan, the grant can cover those items and help students out who come to school.

The grant has helped more than 100 students at the schools by paying for uniforms, school supplies, basic hygiene items like toothbrushes, underwear, socks, ect.

“We can also help with things like tuition, the after school program, money for field trips and science lab fees.”

The grant also states that the students should be monitored in his or her academic success.

“People don’t know to ask, and you don’t know which students are part of the 100, and that’s a good thing,” Bryan said. “You’re not supposed to. They aren’t treated differently than others.”

The grant is a federal grant that school districts compete for every year in the spring.

Families can contact the Board of Education to find out more information or contact a school counselor.

“To me, it’s a sweet little grant that can bridge that gap,” Bryan said. “It’s not the child’s fault that the job went away from the parent or a divorce setting, or they lack fixed nighttime residence. They’re not suffering during the school day because of this grant because it can take up some of those missing pieces.”