“Pathway Home” aims to help Bay District families struggling with housing

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — For potentially dozens of Bay District Schools families struggling with housing, relief is on the way.

The school district announced a new program on Thursday morning which will bring $500 thousand to the area to help with housing solutions.

“We’re very excited about this grant,” said Kay Daniel, a Bay District Schools Social Worker and Homeless Education Liaison.

She said the area was selected as one of three counties in the state to receive the funding.

Bay District Schools is partnering with Doorways of Northwest Florida and the Panama City Housing Authority to carry out the program, called “Pathway Home.” 

“Perhaps Michael or COVID has disrupted their stability,” Daniel said. “We’ll be helping them use a voucher to find stable housing, and to maintain that housing and to hopefully increase their income and to make sure the child has regular school attendance and make sure their grades improve.”

The housing crisis remains an issue for many households in the area, according to BDS officials. For the kids living in those situations, it has meant they’ve struggled in school or not gone back at all.

The two-year pilot program is an effort to fix that and get students back on track.

Daniel said the grant will be a slow process, helping one family at a time. Those families are being identified and selected by BDS. 

“We’re looking at possibly ten to maybe 15 families a year to be able to help,” she said. 

The groups are looking to get the program started as soon as they receive the money from the state. 

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