NY AG Letitia James announces $150K grant to support homeless Yonkers students
Attorney General Leticia James announced a grant to assist hundreds of homeless students in Yonkers Public Schools.
Roosevelt High School junior Gregory Llamos, of Yonkers, says he and his family became homeless amid the pandemic. Now living in a shelter, he says he has struggled to keep up with remote learning.
"Internet access was not very good, and I was not able to connect to my school. I had a hard time keeping up with the work," he says.
Yonkers Public Schools has 440 students who are also facing homelessness.
A $150,000 check was presented to the district on Friday to provide iPads, laptops and Wi-Fi to homeless students.
Attorney General James says these items are essential to help students in need.
"These aren't just gadgets for fun and games, but tools that are critical for learning and connecting especially during this time of unprecedented crisis," she says.
The grant is the result of a settlement
by the attorney general with Microsoft.
James says from 2017-2020, Microsoft overcharged sales tax for customers purchasing game consoles online in Bronxville based on their ZIP code.
"We conducted an investigation that revealed that some New Yorkers were overtaxed for certain products that were purchased online," she says.
The investigation found that customers were overcharged by as much as 50 cents.
Microsoft has since changed its billing process, but the mix-up provided students, like Llamos, some security and a chance to succeed.
"This is one of those examples, and there are not many of them in life, where a mistake leads to a good moment," says Westchester County Executive George Latimer.
The money comes as Yonkers Public Schools faces a $50 million budget gap, a hole that in past years has led to layoffs and cuts of programs.