The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

ACPS Provides Resources for Homeless Students

Devin Johnson

Staff Writer

Not all students go home at the end of the day. Throughout every school in Alexandria, there are homeless students who need the support of the school system to help them get to and from school and get food to eat. ACPS has programs designed to help these students. 

The process starts with identifying homeless students. Jackie Washington, the Homeless Education and Foster Care Liaison for ACPS, detailed how homeless students are identified.

“I do a lot of training with our school staff to look for signs of a student experiencing homelessness, and if they think that the student might be experiencing homelessness, they send me [that student’s] information so that I can reach out to their family and the student and see if they meet our definition of homelessness.”

ACPS defines homelessness as living in “inadequate or temporary settings.” After they decide that the student and their family qualify, they start to look into how they can help support the student.

One obstacle for students facing homelessness is getting to school. According to Washington, “Sometimes students are staying in the zone of the school they are attending. If that’s the case they just get on the bus like every other kid, which is the most normal way to school. But if they’re living across the city and are going to school on the other end of the city, sometimes we’ll send them in a cab, and other times we use a service called ‘Hop, Skip, Drive’, very similar to Uber.” 

Washington described how ACPS provides support to homeless students as “connecting the student with their teachers, their social worker, and their counselor to have a conversation about what that student is experiencing” and “working with [the] student’s caregiver to make sure that [the student is] connected to our community resources.”

The Homeless Education Liaison Program (HELP), entitles students to free and/or reduced breakfast and lunch, the ability to enroll in school even if lacking a permanent address, referrals to medical and mental health services, sports, clubs and other activities. Through the HELP program, students experiencing homelessness have access to a variety of services.

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ACPS Provides Resources for Homeless Students