With the holiday season just around the corner, many people are looking for ways to contribute to help those in need. One way may be through supporting the Clark County School District’s Title I HOPE program.
Many are surprised to learn that the district is currently serving more than 11,000 students who are classified as homeless. The criteria for being homeless includes a variety of situations ranging from “couch surfers” to students whose families live in weekly or monthly rental facilities. However, the common thread is that all of these students need, and are eligible for support services through the district’s Title I HOPE department.
Although the department has Title I in its name, the services provided through Title I HOPE are available to homeless students at any of the 358 CCSD schools, not just those with an official Title I school designation.
“Unfortunately, we have one of the highest rates of youth homelessness in the entire nation,” said Coordinator Kelly-Jo Shebeck. “Our services of providing assistance are available to all 358 CCSD schools and the seven charter schools sponsored by the district.”
The services primarily consist of providing students with basic necessity items so they can be successful in school. To fulfill these needs, the department provide backpacks that contain a variety of personal hygiene items that students may not have access to on their own. Shebeck said assistance can also come in the form of providing school and physical education uniforms as well as clothing and shoes. They also work to remove transportation barriers for students and provide referrals to community service organizations.
“Each school has a contact person, usually a counselor, who will serve as an advocate for homeless students,” said Shebeck. “If a school has a need, they just need to contact us and we will see what we can do to provide assistance.”
While Title I HOPE focuses on helping students, they can use assistance themselves in the form of donations. Although they receive some Federal Title I funding, it is not nearly enough to accommodate the needs of 11,000 students.
Individuals, businesses and/or community organizations who would like to provide donations to support the department, can contact Coordinator Meg Pike or Shebeck via Interact.
“While our department is small, the need is great especially around the holidays, so we appreciate all the community support that we can receive,” said Shebeck.