Emergency Education Fund

The Emergency Education Fund provides funding of up to $500 for young people up to age 24 who are currently in a homeless situation and who have an unexpected, immediate need preventing access to or completion of educational, extracurricular, or career-related activities.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Age 24 or younger
  • Currently residing in Allegheny County
  • Currently experiencing homelessness (defined as lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence, including living in a shelter, car, motel, doubled up situation, or places not meant for human habitation, or lacking permanent housing)
  • Have an unexpected, immediate need preventing access to or completion of educational, extracurricular, or career-related activities.

Allowable Expenses

If your request is a non-emergency need or is covered by other funding sources in the community, HCEF may request that they first be exhausted. See our list of community resources and funding. Please also note that HCEF also offers an annual award to first-time students of higher education or career training.

What We Fund:

Emergency educational expenses:

  • Post-secondary tuition and school back-fees (i.e. student has account dues preventing him from registering for classes)
  • Transportation to educational activities, job interviews, or college visits
  • Course materials and expenses (textbooks purchases/rentals, equipment, exam fees, etc.)
  • Fees, equipment, etc. to prevent interruptions from extracurricular or summer camp activities (i.e. student currently enrolled in a dance class needs a uniform to participate in an upcoming recital)

What We DO NOT Fund:

Non-educational or non-emergency needs:

  • Private school tuition
  • General transportation needs (for non-educational purposes; i.e. to doctor’s appointments, jobs, etc.)
  • Meals, groceries, clothing, or personal items
  • New registration for extracurricular or summer camp activities (i.e. student wants to sign up for an activity for the first time or a new season)
  • Furniture, appliances, or technology
  • Utility bills (electric, gas, water, etc.) and nonessential bills (cable, phone, internet, etc.)
  • Rental assistance or housing expenses

Application Requirements

  • Completed and signed application form demonstrating emergency need and explaining how the funding will remove a barrier to accessing or completing your (or your child’s) education, extracurricular activity, or career-related activity.
  • Third party (e.g. social worker, homeless housing provider) letter of verification confirming homeless status on official letterhead. See our sample template.
  • For higher education or career training requests, proof of enrollment or acceptance (e.g. transcript, letter of acceptance)

Submission and Selection
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.  Recipients will be selected based on need and availability of funds.

  • Applications for youth under the age of 18 must be filled out by a guardian, with the exception of unaccompanied youth.
  • If you are applying for multiple children within one family, please fill out Page 2 for each child, and submit all pages together as one packet. There is a $500 maximum per child.
  • Completed applications can be emailed or mailed (no staples, please) to: Homeless Children’s Education Fund, 1901 Centre Ave, Suite 301, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
  • Payment will be issued to the applicable vendor (e.g. Port Authority, Amazon). We cannot provide payment directly to the applicant. Payments via check will be processed within two weeks.
  • Approved applicants will be contacted before the vendor is paid.
  • Note that the Homeless Children’s Education Fund may need to identify itself by name to the vendor.
  • The vendor must provide a receipt within thirty days.
  • Recipients may be sent a survey after receiving the grant.
  • Funding is available on a limited basis.  If you have received funding in the past, contact us to determine your eligibility.