Category: Uncategorized

adults meeting

SAVE THE DATE
Needs Assessment Workshops

Would you like to know more about creating a robust needs assessment for your Homeless Education Program? Or would you like to expand upon the current needs assessment you are using? If so, save the following dates for in-person needs assessment workshops:

• September 14 – Northwest & Western Prosperity Zones
• September 22 – Northeast & North Central Prosperity Zones
• September 28 – Piedmont Triad & Southwest Prosperity Zones
• October 5 – Southeast & Sandhills Prosperity Zones

More details on the registration and location of these workshops will be shared with you by your NCHEP Program Specialist.

Charter PSUs will have a dedicated time to work on Need Assessments during their Compliance Forums that will be announced soon.

laptop on desk

Tuesday Talks
9:00-10:00 a.m. weekly

Homeless liaisons in Public School Units (PSUs) are invited to Tuesday Talks each week.  Join your NCHEP Program Specialist for a virtual office hour from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM on Tuesday mornings. This time will allow for scenario processing, collaboration with other liaisons, discussion on needs to help support you in your role, or a time to just pop in for a quick hello. You will have the opportunity to build a relationship with the NCHEP program specialist and other district liaisons from across the state. There is no required registration and attendance is optional. 

This is a recurring event, thus the access information listed will be the same for each event.

Join with the same recurring Zoom link.

No Kid Hungry Summer Nutrition logo

No Kid Hungry

New Summer Meals Hotline Number!
Text FOOD or COMIDA to 304-304 to Find Summer Meals for Kids Near You!

No Kid Hungry’s summer texting hotline has a new number. Text FOOD or COMIDA to 304-304 during the summer months to find a site near you with free meals for kids. The 304-304 number replaces the former texting number, 877-877, which was used and advertised for many years. For a limited time, to help with this transition, if an individual texts FOOD or COMIDA to the old 877-877 number, they will receive a redirect message to the new 304-304 number.

The 304-304 summer texting hotline provides an easy way for anyone to find the site with meals for kids closest to them when school is out from June to August. So, when school lets out for the summer, schools, churches, community organizations, state agencies, and others team up to provide thousands of meal sites across the state where kids can eat for free.

To access No Kid’s Hungry marketing materials such as online graphics, social media posts, printable flyers, template letters, and more go to https://spark.adobe.com/page/bgZdZx6GxxBK8/ or visit http://nokidhungrync.org/

Volunteers standing in front of refuge for UHY

Creating a Refuge for UHY
in Moore County

Tambra Chamberlain is the homeless liaison for the Moore County Schools. Tambra started leading the charge to mobilize her community while serving as a school social worker at Pinecrest High School. She utilized a tool kit from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) about mobilizing communities to assist with resources. This was the beginning of creating a community of change agents to address the needs of homeless students. When the first meeting was held at Pinecrest High School in 2015, the decision to continue collaborations and involve additional community and faith-based entities were made. There was a consensus that utilizing their local resources would be key when working in their rural community. Since this first meeting, the Sandhills Student Assistance program was created. This program, which Tambra sat on the board of, is devoted to supplying any tangible needs for all 23 Moore County Schools. In 2017 during an Interfaith Quarterly Meeting, a local faith-based leader asked what was still needed. Tambra immediately mentioned transitional housing for youth. As a committee, community forums were held utilizing the community mobilization model. After five community forums, an initial organizing committee met every two weeks for 15 months, developing a non-profit case statement to develop the Young Women’s Transitional Home of Moore County. A board was created in 2019, and from there, the board of directors began fundraising.

During the fundraising process, the board voted and decided to DBA (do business as) TambraPlace. Much to Tambra’s surprise and wanting to change the name to Harmony Home, the board decided to push forward with the namesake. “Till this day, it humbles me to be honored in this way,” Tambra relayed. Since then, especially during COVID, different faith-based organizations, community stakeholders, and colleagues have begun to grasp our missions. Our school social workers and counselors are aware of the daily needs of the students. It is telling a resilient teen, which has nowhere to go or is escaping an unsafe situation, sorry there’s no place for you in this county, that is heart-wrenching.
Currently, TambraPlace has an Independent Living Program (ILP) donated by a local church and anticipates this facility to be filled by February 2022. The ILP is run much like a dorm, and the young women can stay for 24 months. The program model is meant to assist young women aging out of foster care or seeking a place to escape abuse and heal from trauma.
TambraPlace is breaking ground on an additional facility on donated land. Friends of Pinehurst Surgical spearheaded the building proceeds by organizing a two-day fundraiser and, by the end of an exciting bidding auction, had raised $70,000. On December 13, 2021, TambraPlace received an additional $50,000 from the Empowering Kids Foundation to build a home for young men. Tambra and her board project these lofty goals will be completed by the end of 2022.

Tambra credits the fruition of this program to her community and God. In rural areas, it is a struggle to fulfill the unseen needs of Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (UHY), especially since they are not always visible. Community change agents and collaboration with community partners are what made this project possible.

“It is a beautiful thing to see a diverse group of people work together to finally create a refuge that will change the trajectory of a struggling youth forever.” ~ Tambra Chamberlain
Pandemic

COVID-19 Resources for
Homeless Liaisons

The following links regarding COVID-19 provide homeless liaisons with guidance, support, and resources for meeting the educational needs of homeless children and youth.

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI)

United States Department of Education (USED)

  • This US ED webpage provides updated resources for elementary and secondary schools, and institutions of higher education, to help inform their coronavirus response efforts.
    ed.gov/coronavirus

National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

SchoolHouse Connections (SHC)

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH)

Other Resources:

Food and Nutrition Resources:
  • Food Benefits for School-Age Children:
    • On September 28, 2020, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced that it will provide additional benefits through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to help families purchase food for children whose access to free and reduced-price meals at school has been impacted by remote learning this fall due to COVID-19. The program provides a benefit on an EBT card that can be used to buy food at authorized retailers, including most major grocery stores.
    • In the P-EBT program this fall, children are eligible if they had access to free or reduced-priced meals at school last year, their school district or charter school is eligible to provide free or reduce-priced meals at school this year, and their school district or charter school utilized remote learning for all students for at least five consecutive school days between August 17th and September 30th.
    • This is different than the eligibility criteria for P-EBT benefits in the spring, which was available to all children who normally access free or reduced-priced meals, regardless of school circumstance. The new eligibility criteria are based on requirements from the US Department of Agriculture. To find out whether a school district or charter school is receiving fall P-EBT benefits, view the list here.
    • More information about the P-EBT program can be found at www.ncdhhs.gov/PEBT.
  • Apply for Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation Grants for Hunger Relief by September 15, 2020
  • Find free, healthy meals for children ages 18 and younger
    • Call toll-free 1.866.3Hungry (1.866.348.6479) or 1.877.8Hambre (1.877.842.6273)
    • Text “FoodNC” to 304-304 for information in English or “COMIDA” to 304-304 for information in Spanish
      • Note the 304-304 number replaces the former 877-877.
    • Use the No Kid Hungry North Carolina mapping tool 
  • NCDPI has an interactive map for families to find free or affordable high-speed internet service offerings across the state.
  • Families needing food assistance can text “FOODNC” or “COMIDA” to 877-877 or visit the interactive map to locate nearby meal sites.
  • Access for Nutritious Food: Kelly Kimple at Kelly.Kimple@dhhs.nc.gov 
Child Care Resources:
Remote Learning:
College Assistance:
  • The College Foundation of NC has developed a Financial Aid Tips for Students Affected by the Coronavirus document. The tips are available in both English and Spanish.

COVID-19: Strategies in Action!

Tracking Student Identifications Resulting from COVID-19

COVID-19 Funding for NC

  • In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the transition of public schools to remote learning, the challenges of no face-to-face interaction, has shined a bright light on the inequities of internet access across the state. Many students are without reliable internet access or their own devices. A bill introduced in late May would help bridge the digital divide.
  • House Bill 1181 – Specific appropriations for education/COVID-19 would appropriate $150 million to DPI to improve internet connectivity for students by installing Wi-Fi in school buses and providing community and home internet access points; $65 million to DPI to purchase computers for students and school personnel; $25 million to DPI for grants for schools to apply for funds to support extraordinary costs associated with services for exceptional children; $25 million to DPI for contracted services for school.
    • Filed 5/26/20, passed 1st reading, referred to Committee on Appropriations. To be continued
Buncombe County Schools Food Pantry

The Face of Hope
in Buncombe County

The onset of COVID-19 has escalated the basic needs of the most vulnerable and underserved students and families within Buncombe County Schools (BCS). BCS is a school district located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, which educates 23,000 students through 44 schools.

Food insecurity has increased for many area families due to reduction of work hours, layoffs and general lower family income resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Lack of financial resources, as well as transportation to food pantries and school meal sites, have made it difficult for them to leverage existing resources, creating a crisis for many families. The alarming increase in needs has highlighted the importance of providing access to food and necessities on an ongoing basis. The closing of public schools for in-person learning has eliminated the opportunity for students to receive free or reduced meals at school. With referrals from School Social Workers, School Counselors, School Administration, and the BCS Family Resource Center phone line, the center serves one critical function for BCS families and students, “one-stop shopping” for service needs.

BCS Family Resource Center’s mission is to support the most vulnerable students and families within Buncombe County, including those impacted by homelessness, immigrant status, uninsured, living below the poverty level, and those with no access to other public assistance (undocumented, etc.) The Resource Center is currently serving a diverse student population, including students with multinational backgrounds. Through donations which began to arrive in March 2020 from individuals, businesses, and faith-based organizations, the center has been able to continue to serve the needs of local students and families. Once students return to school for in-person learning, the center will open publicly to BCS families and students.

Families and students can receive support for the following services: housing referrals, food stamps, Medicaid applications, tutoring, food, hygiene products, diapers, wipes, formula, school supplies, and household items. Items are delivered to students and families weekly while school is operating virtually. These personal interactions also provide opportunities for wellness checks, which are especially important for families challenged with trauma, mental health issues, mental health needs, domestic violence, and food insecurities. If concerns are noted, proper resources can and have been provided. Regular, positive interaction with the Buncombe County Schools Resource Center personnel provides encouragement to distressed families – in effect, the face of hope.

Shannon Boyd, Youth in Transition Coordinator
Buncombe County Schools

bananas

Food Benefits for School-Age Children

On September 28, 2020, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced that it will provide additional benefits through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to help families purchase food for children whose access to free and reduced-price meals at school has been impacted by remote learning this fall due to COVID-19. The program provides a benefit on an EBT card that can be used to buy food at authorized retailers, including most major grocery stores.

In the P-EBT program this fall, children are eligible if they had access to free or reduced-priced meals at school last year, their school district or charter school is eligible to provide free or reduce-priced meals at school this year, and their school district or charter school utilized remote learning for all students for at least five consecutive school days between August 17th and September 30th.

This is different than the eligibility criteria for P-EBT benefits in the spring, which was available to all children who normally access free or reduced-priced meals, regardless of school circumstance. The new eligibility criteria are based on requirements from the US Department of Agriculture. To find out whether a school district or charter school is receiving fall P-EBT benefits, view the list here.

More information about the P-EBT program can be found at www.ncdhhs.gov/PEBT.

Find more resources to help families impacted by COVID-19.

Beth Branagan, homeless liaison

Transylvania County Schools is Active in Supporting Early Childhood Education

Beth Branagan, Homeless Liaison for Transylvania County Schools and NCHEP’s 2019 Homeless Liaison of the Year, served as one of three guest speakers in a collaborative webinar hosted by the NC Department of Public Instruction Office of Early Learning, including Title 1 Preschool and the Head Start Collaboration Office, and NCHEP which focused on sharing best practices for coordinating services for student and families who experience homelessness. The new NC Early Learning Coordination Guidance document was released during the webinar and best practices were shared not only by Ms. Branagan, but also by staff from Telamon.

Visit the Supporting Early Childhood web page for additional resources.

young students with teacher while social distancing

Childcare for School-Age Children During Remote Learning

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the NC Child Care Resource and Referral system have established a hotline to assist parents in obtaining referrals to licensed childcare programs for school-age children.

          1-888-600-1685
          Representatives available:  8:00 am – 5:00 pm EST

Care options are also available for children from infants through age 12.  Further details are available from these fliers available in both English and Spanish.