Ward 5 School Committee Member Marcony Almeida-Barros announced $35,000 in new funding to assist the Everett Public Schools (EPS) homeless students this school year. The money will help reduce truancy, assist with food and case management, and improve graduation rates, as part of EPS Student Homeless Assistance Program initiated by Almeida-Barros. To date, this one-of-a-kind program in a public high school has brought nearly $100,000 in funding to EPS since its inception.
Part of this year’s subsidy was possible thanks to the continued assistance of the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA), who has heard Marcony’s call since he joined the School Committee. State Senator Sal DiDomenico also assisted to secure additional funding for this program through the state budget this year. “Being able to address housing stability for our most vulnerable students has been a top priority of mine,” said Almeida-Barros.
EPS Student Homeless Assistance Program was initiated in 2018 as a pilot program. When Almeida-Barros heard about the homeless student population, he invited in the MHSA visit Everett High, and initially won a $30,000 grant to help homeless students and their families in crisis to cover emergency expenses for food and housing.
In the program’s first year, 11 students received assistance with rent, food, and case management through Youth Harbors, a local organization working with students in housing crisis, to improve absenteeism, school grades and graduation rates. “One of the proudest moments I’ve experienced was when I attended the special graduation ceremony at Youth Harbors, whose assistance to several EHS students helped them overcome difficult barriers to graduate,” Almeida-Barros said. “It proved that investing in our kids by providing housing stability will give them a chance to succeed.” The program is administered by EHS Guidance Department and Youth Harbors.