Homeless Education (Project Heart)
The mission of Project Heart is to provide Manatee County students living in housing transition with support and resources to enroll, attend and succeed in school.
Project Heart assists students who lack a fixed, adequate and stable nighttime residence such as students living in the following situations:
- Run Away or Domestic Family Shelter
- Motel or Hotel
- Double up with other people due to loss of housing or economic hardship
- In a Car, Park, Abandoned Building or Bus Station
Services available through this program include:
- School Enrollment
- School Supplies and Uniforms
- School Stability and Tutoring
- School-Related Expenses
- Graduation or GED Fees
- Post High School Planning
- Referrals for Financial Assistance in the Community
Unaccompanied homeless youth rights under legislation have change
Florida House Bill (HB) 1577 was approved by Governor DeSantis on April 6, 2022, with an effective date of July 1, 2022. This bill enacts the following:
- Revises the definition of homeless youth for the purposes of Florida tuition exemption.
- Requires school districts and postsecondary institutions to provide postsecondary transition counseling to homeless students identified through McKinney-Vento.
- Requires the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability to conduct a study on the effectiveness of services provided to homeless students in Florida.
- Requires school districts to provide information cards to certified homeless unaccompanied youth, which include the youths’ rights as well as certification information.
The certification card will help the student attend to his medical needs and get their own birth certificate records. Section 743.067, Florida Statutes , provides that this certified youth may consent to medical care; dental care; behavioral health care services, including psychological counseling and treatment, psychiatric treatment, and substance abuse prevention and treatment services; and surgical diagnosis and treatment, including preventative care and care by a facility licensed under chapter 394, chapter 395, or chapter 397 and any forensic medical examination for the purpose of investigating any felony offense under chapter 784, chapter 787, chapter 794, chapter 800, or chapter 827, for himself or herself or his or her child, if the certified youth is unmarried, is the parent of the child, and has actual custody of the child.
Project HEART and UNITE US
Project HEART is now working with UNITE US, a social care platform that helps the community get connected to resources base on their needs.
UNITE US is a new bridge for Project HEART to connect families with their needed resources through local nonprofits that offer multiple services.
UNITE us platform will help fill the gaps for our homeless families so that they can reach stability quicker.