“Phase Four” Coronavirus Advocacy Priorities for Children, Youth, and Families Experiencing Homelessness
Congress recently passed the $2 trillion coronavirus relief legislation, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), H.R. 748. Yet lawmakers already are at work on a fourth major legislative package (“Phase Four”) to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. The CARES Act provided significant new resources for education, early care, housing, nutrition, and services. However, those resources are insufficiently targeted to one of the most mobile, vulnerable, and hidden populations: children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness. To prevent lasting harm to children, youth, and families – and to prevent adult homelessness – SchoolHouse Connection urges Congress to include specific supports through efficient, existing service-delivery systems and programs in the next coronavirus legislative package.
Under “normal” circumstances, homelessness harms the health and development of young children, jeopardizing their learning and life outcomes. Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers experiencing homelessness are even more vulnerable in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, as they struggle with disruptions in food, family, and housing, as well as the increased stress of caregivers. SchoolHouse Connection offers five strategies for young children experiencing homelessness during (and after) the COVID-19 crisis.
Implementing State Law to Support College Students Experiencing Homelessness: Lessons from the First Tennessee Convening
In early March, prior to widespread school closures related to the coronavirus outbreak, SchoolHouse Connection (SHC) hosted a statewide convening on higher education and homelessness in Tennessee. We hosted three in-person convenings in Murfreesboro, Knoxville, and Memphis and live-streamed the convening. Together, we had over 100 people in attendance. The purpose of the convening was to help institutions implement HB 1000 / SB 763, a new state law that requires each post-secondary institution in Tennessee to designate a Homeless Student Liaison to assist students experiencing homelessness in applying for and receiving financial aid and available services.
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.
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.
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 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.