Tips for Homeless Higher Education Liaisons

Many institutions of higher education are designating liaisons for students experiencing homelessness. Similar to their counterparts in K-12 education, homeless higher education liaisons support students by connecting them to available resources on and off-campus, and removing barriers to their college retention and success. This tip sheet provides basic strategies for higher education liaisons.

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Interview with Anne Giordano: Pregnancy, Birth, and Homelessness

We interview Anne Giordano, MA, DSP, IMH-E®, who is an Early Childhood Specialist at EdAdvance in Litchfield, CT. She has coordinated a McKinney-Vento subgrant for the school district, provides training for the CT Association in Infant Mental Health, and frequently develops and provides training at the state and national levels on the impact of homelessness on expectant parents, young children and their families.

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A student began attending our school under Open Enrollment. The principal was just notified that the student and mother are at a local shelter, which is out of our school boundaries. Does school of origin apply, since the student originally was enrolled as an Open Enrollment student?

Answer: Yes. The open enrollment school is the school of origin--it is the school the child attended when permanently housed, and also the school in which last enrolled. 42 USC 11432(g)(3)(I)(i)-(ii). The fact that he enrolled originally under open enrollment is...

If a student just graduated as a senior from our school, can we use Title IA funds to help him/her buy supplies for college?

Answer: The U.S. Department of Education's guidance states that the two general principles for using Title IA funds for homeless students are: Services must be reasonable and necessary to enable homeless students to take advantage of educational opportunities. Funds...

A student experienced homelessness last school year. Since then, his family has gained residence in a nearby community. Would he be able to attend this year (12th grade) year at his previous school if he could commute there?

Answer: If the student’s family gained permanent housing after the beginning of the current school year, the student has the right to remain in the school of origin for the rest of the year, if it is in his best interest. If the family gained permanent housing before...

What are your thoughts about creating a parent advisory group to include current and former parents/guardians/caregivers of children and youth identified in the McKinney-Vento Program?

Answer: Getting input on your program from parents, caregivers, and students experiencing homelessness is very important.  They have a unique view of how your systems are working and where the barriers lie. However, it’s important to design opportunities for...

A parent has incurred transportation costs getting her children to the school of origin during this past school year. She has asked to be reimbursed. The district is amenable to that; however, they are asking for receipts. The parent is unable to provide anything other than one receipt for a turnpike toll.

Answer: An important preliminary question for this answer is when the school knew the student was experiencing homelessness.  If the school knew earlier, and knew the parent was transporting the child to the school of origin, then reimbursement is the school’s...

Early Childhood

Infants are at greater risk of living in homeless shelters than any other age group in the United States. Early childhood programs prevent the harmful life-long effects of homelessness on education, health and well-being.

PreK - 12

In the 2016-17 school year, public schools identified more than 1.3 million homeless students. Schools provide basic needs, caring adults, stability, normalcy, and the skills to avoid homelessness as adults.

Higher Education

The majority of well-paying jobs created today require education beyond high school. Post-secondary attainment is increasingly necessary to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness, and live a healthy, productive life.

Unaccompanied Youth

Unaccompanied homeless youth are young people experiencing homelessness who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. 4.2 million youth and young adults experience homelessness each year.

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