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Webinar Highlights Resources for Educators in Hurricane-Affected Regions

The U.S. Department of Education (ED), along with relevant federal and state agencies, hosted a webinar last week to provide emergency-response resources to districts and schools serving hurricane-affected regions.

Officials on the webinar included representatives from ED, the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and state education officials in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. The webinar largely focused on the requirements in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which outlines the procedures for identifying homeless students and the resources schools must make available to homeless students.

Panelists encouraged schools and districts that are unsure of these requirements to contact their respective state homeless education liaison. Panelists also urged schools and districts to move as quickly as possible to make a determination regarding students’ eligibility for homelessness classification under the McKinney-Vento Act and to understand that a student’s eligibility may vary depending on the housing options available to that student’s family.

A FEMA representative provided a brief overview of how schools, and some nonprofits, can seek public assistance for hurricane-related recovery costs that are not already covered by insurance or another grant program. The panelist stressed the importance of documenting costs as thoroughly as possible to ensure expenses are eligible for financial support.

For an extensive list of resources, review the webinar slides provided by ED and contact your relevant state officials for further information. For quick reference, here are links to several of the key resources (plus a few new resources for Hurricane Irma), organized by providing agency or state:

NCHE

Other ED

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

FEMA

Texas

Louisiana

Florida


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Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE

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