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Information + Referral (for more time-sensitive dilemmas)

Need shelter tonight? Need food tomorrow? Just endure a natural disaster? Need to pay rent by the end of the week? This need for immediate assistance may be met by emergency-based organizations in your area.

Step Up for Students  

Step Up For Students was created to help alleviate the enormous educational challenges faced by children in Florida who live in or near poverty. The program provides Tax Credit Scholarships to students in K-12 who come from low-income families. These scholarships allow the students to consider a participating private school or an out-of-district public school that may better suit their individual needs, an option which already is available to families of greater financial means.

Did you know about these two Florida K-12 scholarship opportunities administered by Step Up For Students?
  • The Personal Learning Scholarship Account (PLSA) is a new program that helps families personalize educational plans for their children with special needs. To qualify, students in kindergarten through 12th grade must be diagnosed with one of the following: autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, Williams syndrome or an intellectual disability (severe cognitive impairment). Also, kindergarteners who are five years old and deemed "high risk" due to developmental delays may be eligible. The PLSA allows parents to direct scholarship funds toward a combination of programs and approved providers including private schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, technology – even a college savings account.
  • Another option is the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC), a program created in 2001 that provides low-income families with financial assistance toward private school tuition and fees, or with transportation costs to attend a public school in another county. If a family's household income qualifies for the free- or reduced-price school lunch program (185% of the federal poverty guidelines), or if the family receives SNAP (food stamps), TANF, or FDPIR, the student may be eligible. Children in foster care or out-of-home care, or those who are homeless also may be eligible.
Step Up For Students is a nonprofit approved by the state to help administer both programs.

Internet Essentials (by Comcast)  

Internet Essentials provides low-cost internet service, affordable computers and digital literacy training to households with children who qualify for free lunch under the National School Lunch Program.

Details

  • Fast, home Internet service for just $9.95 a month + tax.
  • No price increases, activation or equipment rental fees while in the program.
  • A low-cost home computer available at initial enrollment for just $149.99 + tax.
  • Free Internet training—in print, online and in person.

How to qualify

  • Be located where Comcast offers Internet service
  • Have at least one child receiving free school lunches through the National School Lunch Program
  • Have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days
  • Not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment

How to apply

  1. Call 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376) to request an application (Por aplicar en español, llame al 1-855-765-6995)
  2. Comcast will mail you an application. Complete and return it, along with lunch program documents from your child's school
  3. Comcast will notify you by mail about the status of your application. Allow 7-10 days for a response

Free or Reduced-Price School Meals (National School Lunch Program)  

Any child at a participating school may purchase a meal through the National School Lunch Program. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals, for which students can be charged no more than 30 cents. (For the 2012-13 school year, 130 percent of the poverty level is $24,817 for a family of three; 185 percent is $35,317.) Children from families with incomes over 185 percent of poverty pay a full price, though their meals are still subsidized to some extent. Local school food authorities set their own prices for full-price (paid) meals, and applications for free or reduced-price meals are provided by the local school.

Florida School Breakfast Program  

Any child at a participating school may purchase a meal through the School Breakfast Program. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the Federal poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals. (For the 2012-13 school year, 130 percent of the poverty level is $24,817 for a family of three; 185 percent is $35,317.) Children from families over 185 percent of poverty pay full price, though their meals are still subsidized to some extent. Free or reduced-price meal eligibility is determined through the National School Lunch Program application provided by the local school.