MARLBOROUGH – Marlborough Public Schools has seen a jump in the number of students reported as homeless.
According to Jody O’Brien, assistant superintendent of student services and equity, there are currently 81 homeless students enrolled in the district – an increase from last November, when O’Brien reported 47 homeless students.
During the School Committee meeting on March 28, committee member Heidi Matthews asked where these students were coming from.
O’Brien said that although she had no specific information on hand, she said the students may be new arrivals to the country, or they may have lost housing due to evictions.
She added, “The state had notified the district in December that they were funding 10 rooms at the Extended Stay in Marlborough for McKinney-Vento families.”
The federal McKinney-Vento Act provides financial assistance for students and their families who qualify. MPS will receive $1,000 for each student to support their needs.
Nearly half of the homeless students attend Richer Elementary School – 24 students – and the high school at 20 students. Whitcomb Middle School has 12 students; Goodnow Elementary has 10; the Early Childhood Center has seven; Jaworek Elementary has five; Kane Elementary has two; and there is one student who is out-of-district.
O’Brien said that providers from MPS’ wrap-around service will be “working with the families to assess their individual needs.”
The district has received $36,099 in the 2022 fiscal year from the American Rescue Plan-Homeless Children and Youth grant, with some funds carried over to the 2023 fiscal year. These funds have been used for personal care items, school supplies, clothing, groceries and transportation.
In addition, the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded a Homeless Emergency Support grant of $13,000 to the district. The grant was approved by the School Committee.
“We’ll do our best” to help these families, said O’Brien, who added that the state is trying to find them more permanent housing.