The Homeless Education & Literacy Project, or HELP program, is part of the Lincoln County School District that is designed to help homeless students overcome barriers to school attendance and academic success. The McKinney – Vento Homeless Education Act defines homeless students as those who “lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.” The heart of the McKinney-Vento Act is to provide school stability and equal access to education for students living in unstable living situations.
During the 2017-18 school year, the LCSD HELP Program staff identified 1016 homeless children in Lincoln County. 116 students were unaccompanied these are homeless youth without the supervision of a parent or guardian. These are the highest numbers of homeless children in Lincoln County’s history.
Many families switch between the various McKinney-Vento homeless living situations. Students are placed in a category of homelessness based on the first referral we receive. There are very high rates of mobility between the different categories of homelessness.
The HELP centers offer four Advocates, one in each area of the school district and a coordinator to ensure federal law is followed and that all homeless children have equal access to education. Some of the things this includes is outreach to students; assisting students with school fees, immunizations, birth certificates, free meal programs and more.
Four HELP Centers provide basic needs resources and educational programs, filling gaps in the community to meet students’ needs. HELP Centers are a stable place for students and families to get support. For more information at the HELP program go online to the Lincoln County School District Website.