The Homeless Education Liason Project

The Homeless Education Liason Project (HE/LP) provides tutoring and activities for "at-risk" children after school. The program was initially developed in Santa Maria in 1991 as a collaborative project between the Santa Barbara County Education Office, the Community Action Commission, and Good Samaritan Shelter to meet the unique needs of children who experience homelessness. More than 1,200 school-aged children are assisted annually. Families can self refer for services, be referred by local family assistance agencies, or be contacted by the liaison through schools, motels, emergency shelters or food assistance programs.

Each academic school year, children from ages 5-18 are given personal attention from trained tutors. They are assisted with learning skills and homework assignments from school. Various community groups provide nutritious snacks and special parties for holidays.

Children experiencing homelessness are truly an invisible population. An estimated number of 1,000 to 2,000 Santa Barbara County children fall into this situation each year. According to a report presented by health care consultant Roger E. Heroux (pdf) in 2006, there are a significantly higher number of homeless women and children in Lompoc and Santa Maria.

These children's problems are unique and require a special advocate to assist them in the world of pressing adult problems such as shelter, food, clothing, and employment.
Many homeless children are hungry and undernourished. Children without adequate housing suffer from more chronic health conditions. They have few, and often inadequate, clothing items for the weather or comfort.

Children experiencing homelessness face serious crisis and emotional turmoil. The stability of school is compromised because of frequent changes caused by moving from place to place. Many of these children suffer extreme depths of poverty, and lack the stability and emphasis on education that their housed peers enjoy.

The After School Program is supported by donations and local grants.
All funds received go directly to services for the children in order to meet their unique needs. Starting academic school year 2015-2016, Good Samaritan Shelter will begin a new partnership with Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley.



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For More Information Contact:

Homeless Education Liason Project
After School Program
401 W. Morrisson Ave., Bldg. A
Santa Maria, CA 93456
(805) 347 - 3338 Ext. 107

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