Lewiston Uses ARP ESSER III Funds to Support Students Experiencing Housing Instability

Amelia Lyons, DOE McKinney-Vento State Coordinator, had the opportunity to visit Lewiston Public Schools with their district McKinney-Vento liaison, Dan Sansoucy to support in their programming for students experiencing housing instability.

McKinney-Vento is a federal program for all students in public schools in the country, Pre-K through graduation, who might not have a stable place to live, including families who are staying with others due to a loss of housing, staying in hotels, motels, campgrounds, shelters, cars, public spaces, or substandard housing. McKinney-Vento can provide support with transportation, meals, school supplies, referrals, and other support. If you think you know a family who may qualify, connect with your school and ask for the local liaison. If you would like to learn more, call Amelia Lyons at 207-557-1787 or amelia.lyons@maine.gov

The Lewiston School Department is dedicated to providing educational equity and excellence for all students experiencing homelessness. They have a partnership with the Store Next Door, which provides supplemental services to help eliminate barriers to education for youth and families experiencing high mobility and homelessness, living within Lewiston, by addressing students’ basic needs.  The Store Next Door Project provides tangible items such as new and gently used clean clothing and footwear, winter coats and boots, backpacks and school supplies, underwear and socks, toiletries and hygiene products, household goods and cleaning supplies, laundry facilities, showers, gas cards and bus/cab vouchers, food, Lewiston High School logo items and sports team gear.  Lewiston has used ARP ESSER III funds to refurbish space at the Longley building to offer student support services- currently the home base for the Store Next Door. This space will provide a much needed opportunity for students to access resources including academic support services, counseling, food services, clothing assistance, community resource information, and more.

The Lewiston School Department also hosted outreach events to connect with families during the summer months,  using ESSER funds. Canvas and event outreach has offered opportunities for school staff to check in on and stay connected with our identified homeless youth and their families as well as promote summer student support services and academic opportunities.