By Rebeka Beach, manager, Project Connect
Project Connect at CPS serves about 2500 students a year who are experiencing homelessness. The program aims to clear the obstacles homeless students face to enrollment and attendance, including providing transportation, immediate access to free lunch, and ensures the students have the necessary uniforms and supplies to stay up with their studies.
As we close out this year’s National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, we want to highlight the resources available to homeless students living in the Cincinnati Public School District.
Earlier this month, CPS student athletes from Robert A. Taft IT High School and Woodward Career Technical High School volunteered as part of Feed the Children’s H.E.L.P. outreach. The students helped unload over 1,200 backpacks, protein bars and a pallet of books that Project Connect will provide to students.
This program through Feed the Children is one example of ways Project Connect supports students in need. The average age of a homeless student is nine years old. Children experiencing homelessness change schools seven to eight times a year, and as a result they can be up to three years behind in school.
CPS has been sharing “Signs of Homelessness” to teachers and other staff to remind them to be aware of possible indications that a student may be experiencing homelessness.
Some families may not even consider themselves homeless, but are eligible to receive support through Project Connect. Federal law defines “homelessness” for children as those who are:
- Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing or economic hardship;
- Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or campgrounds;
- Abandoned in hospitals;
- Awaiting foster care placement;
- Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing;
- And migratory children.
For more information about Project Connect, visit: https://www.cps-k12.org/academics/programs/project-connect.
You may also contact Project Connect directly if you would like to refer a student or would like for a staff member to share information at your school. Please call 513-363-3200.