Homeless Student Assistance

Homeless Liaison contact information

Gary Verlinde is the Homeless Liaison for MPS. Please contact him by email or by phone at (989) 923-5020.

The Midland Public Schools can assist parents and families while they are temporarily between homes.

A student is considered to be homeless if, due to a lack of housing, they must reside in a shelter, motel, vehicle, campground, on the street, in abandoned buildings, or doubled-up with relatives or friends due to economic hardship or eviction. A student can become homeless due to a fire or other natural disaster resulting in a temporary or permanent loss of their home.

These families often move, causing children to frequently change schools and fall behind academically. These children usually live in overcrowded conditions. There is often a lack of basic resources such as appropriate clothing, food, transportation, and money for school supplies. School is one of the few stable and secure places in a homeless child’s life.

In cooperation with local agencies, we can help families while they are temporarily between homes.

Education services available

  • Assistance with enrollment in school and transfer of student records
  • Liaison between family and school personnel
  • Assistance with school transportation
  • School supplies and backpacks
  • Referrals to community agencies for food, medical, dental, and optical care
  • Assistance with student clothing and shoes

Community assistance

The education project for homeless children and youth is always looking for community assistance. Due to limited financial resources we are often in need of donations to help our students:

  • Backpacks and school supplies
  • New and gently used books
  • New socks (child and adult sizes)
  • New winter hats, gloves, and scarves (child and adult sizes)
  • Fast food and grocery store gift cards
  • Monetary contributions for gift certificates to buy students new clothing and shoes
  • Adopt-a-Family program at Christmas
  • Personal hygiene items

Due to storage limitations, please contact our Homeless Liaison for current student needs.

Services provided

Part of our liaison’s responsibilities is to spread awareness of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Students Assistance Act and to help schools comply with No Child Left Behind law. The act requires that homeless students have a legal right to:

  • Enroll without a permanent address or proof of residency
  • Enroll first and request school records later
  • Offer free or reduced lunch to homeless students immediately and, if available, breakfast – sometimes the only food these children will have in a day
  • Give parents a voice in deciding between a child’s original school district or the one where parents have found temporary shelter
  • Receive transportation assistance to and from their school of origin when requested
  • Immediately provide special services, preschool, after-school programs, and all other normal school services to homeless students

MPS goes beyond the requirements of the law. We enroll elementary students in our backpack buddy program, and we can provide school supplies, clothing, and shoes. We can also link homeless children and their families to county social service agencies that can help with emergency food, shelter, dental, medical, and optical care.

Educators and community organizations may contact our liaison for presentations on the project and for information on fostering success among homeless students. We can also provide information on the developmental, psychological, and behavioral problems that can arise in these chaotic situations.

Additional resources