SchoolHouse Connection is a national non-profit organization working to overcome homelessness through education. We provide strategic advocacy and practical assistance in partnership with early childhood programs, schools, institutions of higher education, service providers, families, and youth.

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policy

POLICY UPDATES


Bipartisan Senate Resolution Introduced Recognizing November 2020 as “National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month”

On November 20, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Susan Collins (R-ME) led 19 Senators in introducing their bipartisan resolution to recognize November 2020 as “National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month.” This is the second year that both child and youth homelessness — the experience from infancy to young adulthood — have been recognized in the form of a Congressional resolution.

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Senate Releases FY2021 Spending Bills

On November 10, the U.S. Senate released its FY2021 spending bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, as well as other agencies. The U.S. House of Representatives passed its FY2021 Labor-HHS-ED spending bill, H.R. 7614, on July 13.

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NEW RESOURCES


Planning for College Breaks: Advice for Youth, from Youth

For students experiencing homelessness, on-campus housing is critical. While on-campus housing provides stability during the fall and spring semester, unfortunately, many on-campus housing options close for winter and summer break. This can leave you scrounging for alternative housing options to fill those gaps until the campus housing opens again. As you look through the housing options available and make plans for breaks when your campus is closed, here are some important things to consider.

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Supporting Homeless and Foster Youth During the Holidays Amidst COVID-19

Earlier this year, SchoolHouse Connection, Youth Villages, and Juvenile Law Center created an editable toolkit for colleges and universities to help inform decisions to support students with experience with homelessness and foster care during COVID-19. As the semester comes to a close and the holidays are quickly approaching, we offer six tips for institutions to support these students.

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GUEST PERSPECTIVES


Growing up as the Youngest

“I am the second youngest of 7 children and growing up, my siblings and I relied heavily on each other to navigate the challenges we faced. Though we ended up being split apart at a young age, we managed to survive, and to this day I would not be who I am if it wasn’t for them. This is my story.” By Danny, SchoolHouse Connection Scholar

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Being the Oldest and Walking Away

“You could tell early on in my childhood that my mother had never truly wanted to be anything other than young and carefree, while many parenting responsibilities fell onto me with full accountability. This meant that, while some kids got cared for by loving parents, I was raised early on to be self-reliant, and when the time came, I was taught to be a caretaker for my sister too.” By Aseret, SchoolHouse Connection Scholar

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Q & A FROM OUR INBOXES

What USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) rules are applicable as we return to school this year?

Answer: At the start of school closures in the spring, FNS waived the requirement to serve school meals in a congregate setting; allowed delivery of school meals; and waived meal time requirements. Parents and guardians also were permitted to pick up or receive meals...

Can an LEA deny a McKinney-Vento student enrollment in a learning model (distance vs. in-person vs. hybrid) if the LEA has reached capacity in the desired learning model? For example, a family was not able to make the enrollment choice by the LEA’s deadline due to homelessness, or a parent changes her mind after a few weeks.

Answer: There is specific language in the McKinney-Vento Act that addresses this question. First: “C) IMMEDIATE ENROLLMENT- (i) IN GENERAL.-- The school selected in accordance with this paragraph shall immediately enroll the homeless child or youth, even if the child...

We have an unaccompanied homeless youth staying with us. We are trying to help him enroll in community college. The college said that he should fill out the FAFSA and ask his mother to fill out her portion. If she refuses, they will set up an interview to assess if he qualifies as homeless. Is this right?

Answer: No. The student should not ask his mother to complete the FAFSA.  He qualifies as an unaccompanied homeless youth and is independent for the FAFSA. If he cannot produce verification from a liaison or shelter, then the financial aid administrator (FAA) at his...

My transportation director is trying to put a mileage limit on how far we transport our McKinney Vento students. Does the McKinney-Vento Act permit a blanket mileage limit for school of origin transportation?

Answer: No it does not. The McKinney-Vento Act requires LEAs to provide transportation to the school of origin at the request of a parent or guardian or, for unaccompanied youth, at the McKinney-Vento liaison’s request. 42 USC 11432(g)(1)(J)(iii). Transportation...

Can an LEA reserve Title I-A funds only for transportation and/or only for the liaison, and reserve nothing for comparable services?

Answer: No. The Title I homeless set-aside requires the provision of comparable services. 20 U.S.C. 6313(c)(3) The homeless set-aside is required of all LEAs that get Title IA funds. Comparable services are required as part of that set-aside. Additional set-aside...

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 2017-18 school year, public schools identified more than 1.5 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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How to Contact your McKinney-Vento Liaison

Under the McKinney-Vento Act, every local educational agency is required to designate a liaison for homeless children and youth. The local educational agency liaison coordinates services to ensure that homeless children and youths enroll in school and have the opportunity to succeed academically.

Click HERE to find the contact information of your local homeless education liaison.

Note: This contact information may change frequently due to staff turnover. If you have problems finding the right school district homeless liaison, please contact your state homeless education coordinator.

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