AISD supports families and students in transition

Aysha Mirza, Designer

Through all of the ugly that we have been through the past year, AISD has a families in transitions program for homeless or transitioning students.

“This program falls under the Mckinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act which provides the school districts the resources they need,” PEP/FIT counselor Stephanie Jurgens said. “This ensures that the students receive the education they deserve.”

Students who fall under the program’s requirements receive tremendous help. 

“No matter what school these students are at, they qualify for instant enrollment,” Jurgens said. “If they need free lunches, clothes, backpacks, school supplies, or even food stamps and Medicaid we help provide all of this.”

During the assessment, Jurgens also sees if students need emotional help, offering them counseling at Martin or even an outside therapist if needed.

“If the students are suffering depression or anxiety we make sure that they have someone to contact,” Martin counselor Karen Peters said. “We also check in on these kids more academically checking their grades and classes.”

But this year specifically has been really hard for students to get the help they need. Not because it is not available, but because it is often teachers who refer students and they don’t have that same connection to know if their student needs help via Zoom.

“We have seen a decrease in our homeless population numbers this year,” Jurgens said. “Across the state of Texas, the homeless population is down about 20 percent from previous years. And specifically for AISD, our numbers are down 16 percent.”

But this decrease is in no way beneficial. It just means that there are fewer students getting the help they need. But AISD expects these numbers to go up as the hybrid schedule is lifted and in June when the Eviction moratorium ends.

“The best way to get this help is to notify your teachers and counselors,” Jergens said. “Or even contact me directly through email or my phone number so that we can make sure everyone is getting the education they deserve.”