Project Home is a program developed by WCSU to support students who are eligible for additional assistance and services under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (MVA). Our mission is to identify eligible students so they may access their rights under the MVA. All MVA students and their families are promised to be treated with compassion and respect.
In addition to the assistance provided as part of the MVA, Project Home is here to connect families with resources they need, monitor the safety and progress of MVA eligible students within our district, educate faculty and staff on the policies and procedures, coordinate transportation for qualifying students and help MVA children and youth obtain the clothing and school supplies they need.
What is the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act?
The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal policy that ensures that children of a homeless individual and homeless youth have immediate and equal access to the same free, appropriate public education as provided to other children and youth.
Who is considered MVA eligible?
The McKinney Vento Act states that a child of youth is eligible if they lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. Examples include:
sharing housing due to a loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
living in hotels, motels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to a lack of alternative adequate housing
living in emergency or transitional shelters
abandoned in hospitals
living in a public or private place not designated for, or normally used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings
living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar places
living in one of the above circumstances and who are migratory according to Section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
What types of assistance are available?
Students that qualify under the McKinney-Vento Act may receive:
Assistance with school enrollment and transfer of school records
Essential school supplies and clothing
Referrals for services between the schools and agencies to meet the student's various needs, as well as the needs of their family
Information regarding rights as homeless children or youth
In addition, WCSU aids in securing clothing (gym clothes, winter coats, boots) and school supplies for McKinney-Vento eligible children and youth. Contact us using the form below if you have any questions.
Below are just a few places to find resources and aid for families in need. For help navigating these resources or finding additional resources, contact us directly.
Housing & Shelter
South Eastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA)- Focused on housing, utilities assistance and health navigation.
Groundworks Collaborative - Basic needs met with dignity. Groundworks provides those in need with a variety of supports including shelter, food and healthcare assistance.
Women's Freedom Center - Shelter and assistance for those experiencing domestic and sexual violence.
Townshend Community Food Shelf- Open on Mondays at the Townshend Commons
Foodworks - Located at 141 Canal Street in Brattleboro, Foodworks is a part of Groundworks Collaborative and is open most days of the week (not Thursdays, Tuesdays are seniors only).
Farm to Family - If you qualify, you may get $30 in Farm To Family coupons that can be used to buy locally-grown, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut herbs at participating farmers markets and farm stands.
Additional Programs & Services
Reach Up - Program from the VT Department of Children and Families helps eligible parents gain job skills and find work so they can support their minor, dependent children. Participants in the Reach Up Program may be eligible to receive a car via the Good News Garage
Health Care & Rehabilitation Services (HCRS) - Mental Health and Developmental Services center servicing residents of Windham and Windsor Counties
Economic Services Division of VT DCF - In addition to Reach Up, the ESD has programs for assistance with food, fuel, housing and more.
COVID-19 News & Resources
COVID-19 Housing Assistance: A Message from Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Vermont
A Message from Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Vermont: During these difficult times, new financial help programs are available to many Vermonters. The state does not want people to be struggling to pay bills, so please apply, even if you don’t usually get public help. Vermont Legal Aid has more information on these programs on our website: https://vtlawhelp.org/.
Vermont Legal Aid is also able to help individual tenants and homeowners. Call us at 1-800-889-2047 or go to https://vtlawhelp.org/. For the fastest response, leave a message explaining what you need in a sentence or two.
1. Help with past-due rent Apply by Dec. 11
For help with past-due rent, Vermonters should apply for the Rental Housing Stabilization Program through the Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA.org). Tenants and landlords apply for this program at the same time. There are no income limits. VSHA pays landlords directly to bring the tenant’s rent account current. You can get help now, and apply again if you still need help later.
2. Moving to a new home Apply by Dec. 11
Some people need to move because of life safety problems with their rental unit, the rent is too expensive, they have trouble with the landlord or other tenants, or the unit is too big or too small. If you need to move and have found a new landlord, apply together for the Money to Move program at vsha.org. The program can cover the money needed to move in, such as first and last month’s rent and security deposit. It also may cover rent payments through the end of this year.
3. Free mediation program for landlord-tenant disputes during the moratorium. Apply ASAP
Sometimes issues other than money get in the way of settlement and dismissal of eviction cases. Mediators are available to help landlords and tenants solve those issues and maintain tenancies. File joint application found at www.vtlandlord.com.
4. Emergency housing for people who do not have a home
The Department of Children and Family's (DCF) Economic Services Division is extending housing supports for homeless households. For more information or to apply, contact the Benefits Service Center at 1-800-479-6151. If you stay in a shelter or motel, you need to participate in “coordinated entry.” You will be assigned a housing case manager who will help you access subsidies and programs to help you get permanent housing. To learn more about coordinated entry, call 2-1-1. If you worked with your case manager to apply for a subsidy or other program and your application was denied, call Vermont Legal Aid at 1-800-889-2047.
5. Past-Due Utility Bills Apply ASAP
The Department of Public Service (DPS) can help pay past-due utility bills. The bills can be for electric, natural gas, landline telephone service or regulated private water bills (not municipal water). Homes and small businesses are eligible. There are no income limits, and you don’t have to have a disconnect notice. However, unless the rules are changed (please check), your difficulty paying the bill must be linked to COVID and the funding only covers arrearages after March 1, 2020. If you need help to fill out an application online, contact your local community action agency. Learn more on the Department of Public Service website under “COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program.”
6. Mortgage Assistance Program (and maybe Property Tax Assistance) Apply by Nov. 6
This program can pay up to six past-due mortgage payments on your home. It is available to all Vermonters who:
• are at least 1 month past due on mortgage payments
• have a COVID-related hardship, and
• meet the income requirements.
Even people who have mortgages in forbearance are eligible. Apply if you have a mortgage and are behind on property taxes. Vermont Housing Finance Agency is taking applications for the VT COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program at VHFA.org. (You do not need to have a VHFA mortgage to be eligible.)
Joni Bertram, McKinney-Vento Liaison