Thompson Education Foundation’s Homeless Assistance Fund expands services to families with support from the 2018 Governor’s Art Show.

Last year, a family in Thompson Valley School District lost their home and all of their belongings to a fire—everything they owned was destroyed. A tragedy like this often leads to students dropping out of school to help their parents get back on their feet, starting a cycle of poverty that can continue for generations. This family, however, didn’t have to live through that, primarily due to the support they received from the Thompson Education Foundation’s (TEF’s) Homeless Assistance Fund.

The goal of the fund is to ensure education stability and success by providing support and assistance to students and families in homeless situations, according to Jana Ramchander, Thompson Valley School District’s Homeless Liaison. This fund can help those who may not be considered homeless by the Department of Housing and Urban Development but meet the standards of the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which includes any student without a “fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence”—a large and growing population in Loveland.

TEF’s fund was able to give the family who lost their home gas cards and other practical items to help rebuild what they lost and get back on their feet, while allowing the student to stay in school.

“You’d be amazed at what a difference these small things make at keeping a child in school,” Ramchander said.
The district had 704 students last year who qualified for assistance, more than double the number when Ramchander started as liaison six years ago. This number includes students living in motels, sleeping on a floor in a house occupied by multiple families, living out of a car, or living on their own due to a death, abuse or simply not having a supportive adult in their lives. Many of them are working full time to pay rent and stay in school, and might not have enough left over at the end of the month to feed themselves.

In addition, the district last year had more than 80 unaccompanied youth—students living entirely on their own, with no support from parents or relatives. The fund supports these students by helping with gas, car repairs or related expenses that might keep them from work or school. It was used to purchase gift cards for the 25 graduating seniors living unaccompanied last year—many of whom went on to college.

“For some of these students, this was the only graduation gift they received,” Ramchander said. “No one was throwing them a graduation party or giving them money.”

The Loveland and Thompson Valley Rotary clubs announced that TEF’s Homeless Assistance Fund is the chosen recipient of proceeds from the 2018 Governor’s Art Show, which runs May 12 to June 17 at the Loveland Museum/Gallery.

“We learned at one of our meetings about the growing number of homeless families in the district and we were moved to act,” said John Kinkade, the event co-chair for Thompson Valley Rotary and co-chair of the Governor’s Art Show Board of Directors. “We knew this was a program we could get behind and encourage art supporters across Colorado to support TEF’s Homeless Assistance Fund through attendance of the show and purchase of amazing art from Colorado artists.”

To learn more about how you can sponsor the Governor’s Art Show and to support the Homeless Assistance Fund, visit
www.governorsartshow.org.