TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo Public Schools has one of the highest rates of homeless students in the state, according to TPS representatives. But now, a pilot program designed to address this issue is being expanded.
The city of Toledo and TPS announced Thursday that they are making $2 million of federal funding available for the district and Lutheran Social Services. The city will also be giving $100,000 to LSS and TPS to support staff as well.
The program helps families who meet the requirements of the rental assistance program. The services help with utilities, mental health services, rental assistance and housing stability.
They were able to help 482 students already, but now hope to help many more, Durant said. TPS has about 2,000 students who struggle with homelessness, he said.
So, the city's pandemic relief funds and rental assistance programs give the students the opportunity to focus on what matters: stable home lives and fulfilling educations.
"We want to be that support system and cushion to help get them in a place to comfort, get them in a place to work and ultimately strive and maintain their families," he said.
Heather Baker, the executive director of community engagement and social support for TPS, said partnerships like these make student-focused goals more achievable.
"We need to keep those students, -- our most vulnerable students -- as stable as possible," Baker said. "It's programs and partnerships like this that allow us to do that."
Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said the city is a big family. But he also said one too many of the smaller families in the city face poverty. And the students' learning ability suffers as a result.
Rosalyn Clemens, Toledo's director of housing and development said she is also excited about the initiative because students come first.
"We're thinking about the kids here and trying to provide this safety net to help our families," she said.