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Horry County Schools preparing to receive federal funds to support vulnerable student populations

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 7:25 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Horry County Schools will soon receive extra funds from the American Rescue Plan.

However, these dollars will be going directly to the district’s most vulnerable student populations.

The South Carolina Department of Education just announced they’re receiving an additional $56 million under the American Rescue Plan Act. The department also said districts must use this round of funds to help the needs of students with disabilities and those experiencing homelessness.

Of that money, Horry County Schools is set to receive around $2.1 million to support students with disabilities. More than $400,000 will also go towards helping the district identify students experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.

“Homelessness has always been an issue for a lot of our students in Horry County,” said HCS spokesperson Lisa Bourcier. “And we’ve actually seen that potentially increase because of the housing industry and the pandemic, people losing their jobs.”

Blakely Roof, President of The United Way of Horry County, says sometimes it’s difficult for schools to identify homeless students because of the stigma surrounding it.

“We hear stories, where teachers or other students find out a kid there in the school is homeless and they didn’t even know it because they’re going about trying to be undetected because they’re embarrassed or they’re ashamed,” said Roof. “Any additional resources are always good for kids and the homeless community as well.”

Bourcier says the next step is for the district to take a look at the requirements for this money and make sure it’s going to the right place and put to good use.

“The need is certainly there and this funding will assist us in being able to not only identify the students,” she said. “It will be very helpful because a lot of people don’t want to let us know their family business. We do have resources and programs specifically for those students and we have a lot of resources to assist them and their families.”

HCS the district has identified 139 students dealing with homelessness as of Wednesday.

In a press release, the South Carolina Department of Education says more than $43 million of the total funds may be used for all expenses allowed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

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