The Education Project, formerly the Education Project for Homeless Youth (EPHY), is a joint project of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District and Ozone House that works to ensure students experiencing homelessness and temporary living situations enroll, regularly attend, and succeed in school.
During the 2015-2016 school year, we served over 1,200 students in Washtenaw County, ages 0-21, from the nine school districts and ten public school academies in the county. Every school district in Washtenaw County works with students in temporary living situations.
We work closely with all of the shelters in Washtenaw County, but also serve families living in motels or staying with friends and family due to loss of housing. We also work with students in temporary foster care placements.
We are funded primarily through the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, reauthorized in January of 2002. The Act guarantees that students who are homeless have equal access to the same free and appropriate public education provided to others. We also rely on private donations and grants to directly meet student needs.
A recent school supplies drive was covered by the Ann Arbor News (leaving WISD website).
The Education Project serves children and youth who lack a fixed, adequate, regular night-time residence. We primarily serve preschool and school-age youth including teens living without a parent or guardian. Services are also available to siblings ages 0-5, and youth ages 18 and older who do not yet have a high school diploma or GED.
Once a student is determined eligible, that student receives services (including free lunch) for the entire school year, even if they become permanently housed.
The children and youth served live in the following situations:
- Emergency shelter or transitional housing
- Public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodation for humans, including cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, and bus or train stations.
- Abandoned in hospital
- Shared housing with others due to loss of housing, economic hardship or another, similar reason.
Examples of Students Who Qualify
(When in doubt, please call the Education Project (contact information below))
- A 3rd grader who fled a violent situation with his mother and is now living in SafeHouse Center's emergency shelter.
- A 19-year-old who has not graduated and just moved into Ozone House's Miller House, a transitional living program.
- A 16-year-old staying in Ozone House's two-week shelter.
- A 5th grader whose family can no long afford their rent and are facing eviction, so the whole family moves in with grandma.
- A teen living in his car.
- A 4-year-old attending Head Start whose family loses its housing and moves into a motel.
- A 3-year-old receiving speech therapy services once a week in Ann Arbor. Their family was evicted and had to move in with family members in Saline.
- A 5th grader who moved in with his aunt while his father is at the Delonis Center shelter.
- A 6th grader's mother is incarcerated, so she goes to live with an aunt in another school district. The aunt is thinking about getting guardianship but doesn't have the money for the fee.
- A 17-year-old who has moved in with her boyfriend.
- A 2nd grader living in a single family home with his mother, father and three siblings. The home has no water or electricity and the student hears his mom saying how worried she is about an inspector coming over.
- A 6th grader who just got placed by Child Protective Services to live with her grandma last week.
- A 3rd grader who has been in a foster care placement for four months.
Examples of Students Who Do Not Qualify
- A 1st grader living in an apartment with her mother, who has a Sec. 8 voucher.
- A 4th grader who lived in a cramped motel until mid-August but his mother is now renting an apartment in a different school district (must be eligible the first day of school).
- A 2nd grader who has lived with the same foster parents for two years.
- A 6th grader whose family is being evicted from their home in a week.
- A 1st grader whose young mother has never moved out of her parent's home and plans to continue to stay there to save money.
Visit www.serve.org/nche for more information (leaving WISD website).
To contact us, call the Education Project office at 734-994-8100 x1518 or email at EPHYContact@washtenawisd.org