What's this story about the dirty laundry in the basement of the Lincoln Center in Billings?
We had a lady call into our statewide radio show towards the end of the hour on Tuesday. She said she heard from a friend that works for Billings Public Schools who said that migrants were given access to the Lincoln Center in downtown Billings, and that the migrants would be able to do their laundry in the basement of the Lincoln Center.
For those who don't know, the Lincoln Center is the administration building for School District 2 in Billings.
Melanie Willardson with Billings Public Schools was kind enough to reach out to us to tell us what the story is. Basically, she tells us that Billings Public Schools are leveraging federal funds to start a program to assist homeless teens with a Family Resource Center. Staff for the center will be using the washer and dryer machines to clean the clothing that is donated for the homeless teens.
The full update provided from Billings Public Schools is below.
Here's the full e-mail with background info from Melanie Willardson with Billings Public Schools:
This email is in response to a concern raised by one of your callers about the superintendent allowing people to do laundry for free in the Lincoln Center.
I just want to verify for your caller that isn't accurate. I also want to give more information.
Currently, we have one washer and dryer in the Lincoln Center that is used by custodians.
Additionally, through remaining ARP-HCYII (American Rescue Plan - Homeless Children and Youth) funds, Billings Public Schools is establishing a Family Resource Center where our district's community and homeless education liaisons will work to support students experiencing homelessness. No district funds from the general fund will be used.
The ARP-HCY funds are one-time funds that are uniquely flexible to support the identification, enrollment, and school participation of children and youth experiencing homelessness. These funds must be obligated by September 30, 2024.
The Family Resource Center will provide immediate, emergency support to students experiencing homelessness through a mini food pantry, donated clothing, school supplies, and connection to outside community services for short-term or intermediate-term support. The purpose of the Family Resource Center is to help students experiencing homelessness or high-poverty with immediate basic needs so they can attend and continue attending school. School attendance is vital for our students in completing their education goals with the ultimate goal of graduation.
The Family Resource Center will be staffed by the BPS community and homeless education liaisons who currently provide identification, school enrollment support, and other student support as mandated in the McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act. In the 2022/23 school year, BPS identified 567 homeless students.
The Family Resource Center will have a washer/dryer that will be accessed by the Billings Public Schools Community and Homeless Education Liaisons to wash donations of coats, pants, shirts, and other clothing.
We are fortunate to live in a community that generously donates clothing, food, gift cards, and hygiene items so our children experiencing homelessness, poverty, and hardship are able to have access to basic necessities so they can attend school.
Director of Community Relations
Billings Public Schools
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