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Cape district awarded grant to support homeless students

Funds will provide housing, food, transportation, supplies
March 20, 2019

Cape homeless liaisons David McDowell and Shawna Steinmann say a Delaware Department of Education subgrant will go a long way toward supporting the district’s homeless students.

McDowell said the $24,999.50 Education for Homeless Children and Youth subgrant will even help overcome one of his greatest challenges. “The hardest thing about this job is getting immediate money for students when we have to cut through red tape,” McDowell said.

McDowell said the grant will fund a voucher partnership with a local hotel. The hotel will provide families in need with an immediate three-day stay while state agencies arrange placement. He said they are also working with local stores to establish a similar voucher program.

Steinmann said the grant will also pay for transportation and supplies, such as field trips or sports equipment, for eligible students. “For example, if a student breaks an iPad, that school property is ruined, and the student has no other means to reimburse the school,” Steinman said.

McDowell said funds will be used to award scholarships to students who have overcome their situations to perform well in school. Students can earn $400, $200 or $100 for highest average, most improved academically, and citizenship, in funds that are given directly to their college of choice.

“It’s enjoyable to see the kids grin ear-to-ear when they learn about it,” McDowell said. “It really is exciting.”

Steinmann said the community steps up to provide supplies through Cape Community Cares, which collects donations year-round for students and families in need. “People here are amazing,” she said. “They’re so generous. They provide.”

McDowell said the storage area housing donations for Cape students has overflowed into an adjacent space. “It’s a great problem to have so many donations we are running out of room to store them,” he said.

To donate, call 302-645-6686 or go to facebook.com/CapecommunityCares.