McKinney Vento Homeless Grant (HERN)
The Boston Public Schools’ (BPS) Homeless Education Resource Networks (HERN) was established twenty-four years ago to meet the needs of the hundreds of families who find themselves experiencing homelessness with children who require critical services to attend school. In the school year 2015-16, thus far, HERN has provided services for 3,167 students who are from facing homelessness; we anticipate a minimum 5% increase homelessness and disin 2016-17. As HERN enters into its twenty-fifth year of delivering services to families of this student population, the needs have changed and require a more sophisticated and coordinated response. HERN has carefully studied these needs and is poised to expand its programming model to take a personalized and responsive approach to meet the evolving challenges our families face.
Through the use of the McKinney-Vento Assistance Act Grant, HERN has continued to provide much needed programs to families and students who are displaced and experiencing homelessness. One such program is the Summer Circle of Fun & Enrichment, which runs from July through August. Every year when we begin planning for the session there is excitement and enthusiasm towards developing the program to be better than the year before. As the awareness of the program grows, more community partners have reached out and provided resources for our growing number of families in need. The students attending the program are taught by highly qualified Boston Public schools instructors who provide a caring and nurturing learning environment. Many students come to us with uncertainty and hesitantion to be included in various groups and activiities. Within weeks of attending the program our students are encouraged to grow as leaders and world citizens. They are willing to work with their teachers and take part in activites with other students. Students experience direct instruction that supports academic and social growth as well as access to community and government leaders, some of whom the kids have only seen on billboards and on television. At the end of the program those same children are not only hesitant to leave, they want us to continue thoughout the school year.
HERN, along with community partners, aims to support the academic as well as the social well-being of the ever increasing number of students experiencing homelessness. As the old proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child” and HERN embraces this philosophy in all the work we do.
McKinney Vento Fast Facts
Funder: Federal grant passed through the State
Award Amount: $60,000
Time Period: 1 year
Number of Students Served: 3,167
Schools Served: all schools districtwide
Phil DunnGrants Manager617-635-8582
Carlos MartinezGrants Coordinator617-635-9084