Hope Through Learning Award

The Hope Through Learning Award is a $2,500 award available to youth age 24 and under residing in Allegheny County who are experiencing or have experienced homelessness during their school attendance years, and who are going on to a higher education or career training program for the first time. Homelessness is defined as lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence, and includes students living in a shelter, car, motel, doubled-up situation, or places not meant for human habitation. Recipients can use their award for tuition, school-related expenses such as books or a computer, or living expenses, such as transportation, child care, or housing.

How can I apply?

  1. Review the eligibility criteria:
    • Experiencing or has experienced homelessness during school attendance years. Homelessness is defined as lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence, and includes students living in a shelter, car, motel, doubled-up situation, or places not meant for human habitation, or lacking permanent housing.
    • Currently residing in Allegheny County
    • 24 years of age or younger
    • Accepted into a post secondary education or career program (e.g. college, university, community college, business school, technical school, vocational school, career training, internship, apprenticeship) for the first time, and are scheduled to begin classes/training before the end of 2020.
    • High school graduate, GED recipient, or due to complete secondary education at the end of the 2019-20 school year
  2. Application Requirements:
    • Online application form: All sections must be completed including essay submission
      • Essay: One to two pages. Please respond to each item. (Applicants must demonstrate writing style and ability.)
        o Describe your experience with homelessness. (Applicants must demonstrate compelling challenges due to homelessness.)
        o How has your experience with homelessness affected your education? How have you overcome the challenges of housing instability to succeed in school? (Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to education despite challenges associated with homelessness.)
        o What do you think should be done (or what would you do) to increase awareness or address the issue of student homelessness?
    • Most Recent High School Transcript (Applicants must demonstrate academic achievement and accomplishments.)
    • Copy of Post-Secondary Program Acceptance Letter
    • Two Letters of Recommendation: Letters should be on letterhead and include the author’s title, address, phone number, email address, and signature. Examples include teachers, mentors, clergy, community leaders, case managers, or homeless housing staff, excluding family.
  3. Complete the application through the online form and upload your most recent transcript, acceptance letter, and letters of recommendation. 
    • If you have issues uploading, please email them to info@homelessfund.org
    • Note: due to COVID-19 school closures, we understand there may be difficulty getting transcripts and letters of rec in. If you are having trouble, contact Patience Baker at pbaker@homelessfund.org and we can work something out. 

More assistance

Looking for more resources and tips?  Check out our resource page for higher education and career resources.

high school graduates received the Hope Through Learning Award in 2020.

Meet the 2020 awardees:

  • Amarionna graduated from Pittsburgh Obama and will be attending Clarion University. She plans to study Nursing  with the hopes of becoming a labor and delivery nurse.
  • Breyona is a graduate of Milliones University Prep and will attend Carlow University. She is interested in creative writing and plans to use writing as a platform to address a variety of topics including Mental Health.
  • Francesco will be attending University of Pittsburgh after graduating from Carrick High School. He plans to study Physical Therapy to eventually become a physical therapist and physical trainer.
  • J’Aaliyah graduated from Milliones University Prep with plans to attend CCAC in the fall. She hopes to become a Respiratory Specialist.
  • Jared will be attending Thiel College after graduating from Gateway Sr. High School. He plans to study Theology and Secondary Education.
  • Jenkins is a current student at Carlow University studying Business Administration.
  • Khalil graduated from Milliones University Prep and will be attending Community College of Allegheny County. He plans to transfer to Carlow University and study Early Childhood Development to work in elementary schools.
  • Larrens is a graduate of Milliones University Prep and will be attending Community College of Allegheny County. He plans on becoming an engineer.
  • Makaila is a graduate of Pittsburgh Obama and will attend Virginia Tech University. She plans to study Chemical Engineering and Public Policy. She is interested in community gardening and promoting food sustainability along with water and air quality.

What Awardees Are Saying:

"I am very thankful and excited about this opportunity to help further my education and brighten my future, so then I can one day be in the position to help others."
"The award was one of the best things that ever happened to me."
"Most of my peers were already planning on attending college, but I was trying to figure out what to do next as far as having a roof over my head."
"I have the passion to make a difference and guide children as they grow. I want them to know that they can do it and never give up."

For more information, email info@homelessfund.org.