WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Two local school districts were awarded funding to support homeless students.

As part of the Homeless Emergency Support Targeted Grant, a total of $100,000 was announced by the Healey Driscoll Administration on Tuesday. It is supported through the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund.

The Town of West Springfield, which has around 100 migrant families living in hotels, is and has been for years one of the highest refugee resettlement communities per capita in the entire northeast. The West Springfield Public School District was awarded $75,000 to help homeless students succeed.

The Chicopee Public School District will receive $25,000. The money given to both schools can be used for the following:

  • Expand or improve services provided through a school’s general academic program but cannot replace that program (supplement, not supplant). 
  • Provide activities and services that integrate students who are homeless and students who are housed. 
  • Facilitate the identification, enrollment, retention, and educational success of homeless children and youth, such as: 
    • Provide wraparound services. 
    • Purchase needed supplies for homeless students. 
    • Provide transportation to enable children and youth to attend classes and participate fully in school activities. 
    • Purchase cell phones or other technological devices for unaccompanied youth to enable the youth to attend and fully participate in school activities. 
    • Provide access to reliable, high-speed internet for students.
    • Provide store cards/prepaid debit cards to purchase materials necessary for students to participate in school activities. 

Districts with newly opened emergency assistance family shelters can apply for student assistance during the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school year. The program will provide $1,000 for each number of students identified.

“I am glad to see this administration prioritizing the health and educational wellbeing of our students who are struggling with the impacts of homelessness or an unfit work and living environment,” Gomez said about the needed funding. “We have to ensure that our children are given the tools to succeed regardless of their status at birth, with targeted money that addresses their needs in a 21st-century educational setting.”  

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