Frederick did all this while homeless for the past two years. He has shown great resilience and is to be commended through his journey of never giving up. Unfortunately, he is one of many homeless students and unaccompanied youth in Georgia—that we are aware of.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are more than 26,000 homeless students and unaccompanied youth in Georgia. And please remember, these are just the ones that have been identified though the schools. These numbers do not include those homeless students and unaccompanied youth that have not been accounted for.
Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act provides funding for students in homeless situations and helps eliminate barriers to education by providing transportation, clothing, school supplies, school meals, counseling, tutoring and referral services to medical and dental care. These services are administered through the schools with the help of Homeless Liaisons that are already in place at the schools. Every school district must designate an appropriate staff person as a local homeless education liaison. These liaisons must ensure that children and youth in homeless situations are identified by school personnel and through coordination activities with other entities and agencies. They help enroll homeless children and unaccompanied youth in school and ensure full and equal opportunity to succeed in school just as other children by helping to remove barriers to education.
Senate Bill 571 (SB 571) has been introduced in the Senate in an effort to expand Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Act by expanding funding and programs for homeless children and youth. In 2009, over $1.7 million in funds were made available to the Georgia Department of Education from the McKinney-Vento Homeless Grant to support homeless children and youth.
These funds help put needed dollars in the school systems and help them to hire homeless liaisons and coordinators to carry out the particular duties associated with homeless children and youth entering the schools. Most importantly, school systems do not have to attempt to foot the bill alone to cover these necessary expenses associated with taking on this type of endeavor.
According to OpenCongress.com, just 3 percent of all Senate bills in 2009-2010 were enacted. Therefore, it is important that we contact our senators and implore their support for SB 571 so that our homeless children and youth all have full and equal access to education. Education is the first step in promoting self-sufficiency for our children. Show your support by contacting Sen. Saxby Chambliss (416 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (131 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510).