Tabitha Muse has worked with the homeless population in Ross County for 13 years. During the last six years, she has carried out this important work in the Chillicothe City School District, serving first as the McKinney Vento coordinator and now homeless coordinator for the district.
As the homeless coordinator for CCSD, Muse’s main responsibility is ensuring students experiencing homelessness can continue their education with minimal interruption. Part of this role is connecting families to the right people to help navigate the registration process and to local services in the district and the community. This includes school staff, shelter workers, housing options and other local social service agencies. Her job assisting families looks different every day – sometimes she acts as a buffer for families receiving assistance when they are unaware of their rights or have had a negative experience that makes it difficult for them to move forward.
A large part of her role is also case management – assisting families in gathering necessary documents, organizing their assets to provide to social service agencies, applying for benefits and housing, contacting emergency shelters and providing food, clothing and school supplies to families all falls under her day-to-day role.
“I love educating this population on resources and benefits available to help their family,” said Muse. “I love hearing their stories. I love seeing the sigh of relief as we work toward self-sufficiency. I love assisting kids with something that seems so little but makes their day. I love to advocate for families that need a voice. It really does take a village, and I love participating in community events, committees and trainings to learn as much as I can to better serve our families.”
Cavs Care is Muse’s umbrella over all available resources at CCSD to assist students experiencing homelessness. This includes the Cavalier Closet, a shelf-stable food and necessity item pantry designed to meet the basic needs of students and families at each of our buildings, and Project Glam, which provides all clothing needed for school dances and job interviews. Project Girl also provides feminine products in school bathrooms, and Cavs Care About Laundry provides laundry vouchers in all community resource boards in our buildings and bathrooms.
Recently, Muse worked with Project School Tools to support students and families during the back-to-school season. The project ensures that students can start off the new school year prepared with backpacks full of necessary supplies, free haircuts and resources for parents to help sustain their child’s success throughout the school year.
Coming up, Muse is working with the Ross County Continuum of Care to End Homelessness to host a Homelessness Awareness event on November 5.
“We try to get really creative in being available several different ways to earn trust and make a connection to better help our families experiencing homelessness,” said Muse.
If you are interested in learning more about our Cavs Care program and receiving assistance, contact Tabitha Muse at firstname.lastname@example.org.