SB 6298 does the following: (1) Directs the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to create a competitive grant process to evaluate and award state-funded 3 year grants to school districts to increase identification of homeless students and the capacity to provide support for homeless students. (2) Directs the Dept of Commerce in consultation with OSPI to administer a grant program that links homeless students and their families with stable housing located in the homeless student’s school district. Activities eligible for assistance under this grant program include but are not limited to: rental assistance, transportation assistance, emergency shelter, and housing stability case management.
Amendments made in the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Committee did the following;
The null and void clause that applies to the housing grant program is removed. Language is added that the housing grant program is subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for the specific person in that section.
Language is removed that Commerce can award up to $500,000 to school districts and the program is limited to 15 schools per school year for the housing grant program. The term “school districts” is replaced with the term “partnerships” in the provision describing the preference that should be given for the housing grants.
The bill also directs OSPI to add to their reporting requirement (to the Governor and legislature) the number of homeless students of color; and to identify the number of identified unaccompanied homeless students enrolled in public schools, under “student demographics,” on the WA state report card web site.
Additionally, SB 6298 requires that each school district that has identified more than 10 unaccompanied youth to establish a building point of contact in each middle and high school.
Funding at the level of $2m for FY ending 6/30/17 and $2m for the FY ending 6/30/18 would be allocated for the grant to increase identification of and support for homeless students.