Education for Homeless Children and Youth
Project HOPE - Virginia, the Virginia Education Program for Homeless Children and Youth, is a federally-funded grant authorized by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act. Project HOPE - Virginia ensures the enrollment, attendance, and the success of homeless children and youth in school through public awareness efforts across the commonwealth and subgrants to local school divisions. Local Education Agencies (LEA) develop customized programs to meet the needs of homeless children and youth in their area. Project HOPE - Virginia funds activities throughout the school year, including early childhood education, mentoring, tutoring, parent education, summer enrichment programs, and domestic violence prevention programs. In addition, emergency services, referrals for health services, transportation, school supplies, and costs related to obtaining school records may be provided through the local Homeless Education Program.
The number of LEA awards varies depending on the availability of funds and the number of applications. Typically, between 14 and 18 subgrants are awarded annually. All Virginia public school divisions that are on file with the Virginia Department of Education, Federal Programs, are eligible to apply. A panel of program staff and independent readers reviews LEA applications. The criteria for selection and grant award amounts for LEAs is described in the original grant application. The review panel utilizes a point system to rate the overall proposal based on the categories of overview, need, program design, program administration, and budget. The grant amount is determined by the number of homeless students to be served and substantial justification for the use of the requested funds.
Project HOPE - Virginia collaborates with other federally-funded programs within Virginia, such as Title I, Even Start, and Head Start. In addition, Project HOPE - Virginia currently works with the Virginia Coalition for the Homeless, the National Coalition for the Homeless, Virginia Interagency Action Council for the Homeless, various professional educational organizations, social agencies, shelters, colleges, universities, and other homeless programs throughout the United States. Local programs collaborate across school divisions and among an array of social agencies. Virginia's Homeless Education Program hopes to continue and increase collaborative efforts while striving to raise public awareness regarding the issue of homeless children, youth and families.