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Pasco County Schools Allocates $1 Million To Help Homeless Students

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - The Pasco County School District is preparing to help thousands of students who are homeless.

District leaders requested almost one million dollars from the state to help children who don't have a stable home... and in the next few weeks, they will receive a full plan on how that money can be used.

Barbara Kleinsorge works for Pasco County Schools and says "They might not be able to go to that PTA meeting or that fun family night, they might not have adequate school supplies, to do that science project."

Kleinsorge says if a child is homeless, and doesn't have access to the same opportunities as other students at school, the results are serious.

"That can really impact their attendance, their tardies, their self-esteem, their stress level, their anxiety, their mental health," said Kleinsorge

Kathy Mize helps teens in the Tampa Bay Area who are homeless or in foster care to get their GED and get a job after they turn 18. Through her organization called Ready For Life, she comes across many students who have lost motivation.

"So many times because it hasn't been a positive experience for them, they do drop out. And I believe more young adults should go to high school, stay in high school, and get their high school diploma," said Mize.

Mize says youth homelessness is an issue that's been neglected for too long.

"I think we need to allocate a lot more dollars towards those young adults who are unaccompanied youth or are in foster care," said Mize.

That's why Pasco County Schools is allocating almost one million dollars to help the roughly 1,300 homeless students in the district.

"Emergency clothing, hygiene kits, rentals for musical equipment," said Kleinsorge.

The money from the American Rescue Plan will be used to help identify students who are homeless, hire extra staff to help them, provide school materials, tutoring, and more. Kleinsorge says a portion of the money is going towards transportaion.

"It can be before or after school extracurricular activities, it can be for health related appointments," said Kleinsorge.

The district submitted a plan to the state on how the money will be used, and Kleinsorge says approval should come in the next three weeks.

"I can't imagine trying to stay in school or trying to get a job when you don't have a place to call home or a place to lay your head," said Mize.

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