The Pitfalls of HUD’s Point-in-Time Count

On December 20, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released data ahead of its 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part I (AHAR), boasting decreases in family and youth homelessness. This assertion was challenged by providers who work directly with families and youth, including early childhood programs and educators, who see a very different reality.
This short article explains why HUD’s data are flawed and misleading, and why other federal data sources provide a more accurate picture of child, youth, and family homelessness.

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Five Questions with Tina Marie: How My Education Helped Me Push Through Adversity

Tina Marie is a SchoolHouse Connection Young Leader and the current Director of the A Bed for Every Child program at the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, which seeks to provide beds for children who are living in poverty without a bed of their own. Before leading this program, she was the Coalition’s Community Organizer and Legislative Advocate, helping to manage successful public policy campaigns that directly addressed the need to prevent and end homelessness by strengthening state-funded resources for Massachusetts’ most vulnerable residents. During this time, Tina Marie often shared her own experiences as a homeless youth at the state and federal level to help identify the needs of youth who are at-risk of or are currently experiencing homelessness.

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A student’s father was incarcerated, and shortly after the mother passed away. The student has been staying with a relative for the past year. The relative does not have custody. Does this student qualify for McKinney-Vento?

Answer: Yes. Based on the information you provided, the student is staying with others due to loss of housing, and the situation does not sound fixed, regular, and adequate (no custody, and father is incarcerated, presumably temporarily). 42 USC 11434a(2)(A)-(B). Read...

Our district policy is that elementary students living within 1.5 miles from the school they attend walk (middle and high school is 2.0 miles). Would that policy apply to a McKinney Vento eligible student?

Answer: For transportation that is not to the school of origin, local educational agencies are required to provide transportation that is comparable to that provided to housed students. 42 USC 11432(g)(4)(A). Therefore, the same policy on walk zones would apply to...

Are insurance fees for school activities an allowable expense using McKinney-Vento or Title I funds?

Answer: For McKinney-Vento funds, yes. This expense would fall under allowable use (16) in the law: "(16) The provision of other extraordinary or emergency assistance needed to enable homeless children and youths to attend school and participate fully in school...

Can an unaccompanied homeless youth be forced to leave their school of origin and attend an alternative school based on grades? This youth wants more than anything to stay at their school. Grades and attendance have been an issue.

Answer: It would be important to look at whether changing to the alternative placement might lead to him/her dropping out of school. The McKinney-Vento Act requires school districts to eliminate barriers to enrollment (including full participation) and retention in...

A McKinney-Vento family has split up, with mother staying in District A, child staying with a family member in District B, and the school of origin in District C. In which districts can the child attend school?

Answer: Under the McKinney-Vento Act, the child has the right to remain in the school of origin (District C), or attend any school that other children living where the child is living are eligible to attend (District B). 42 USC 11432(g)(3)(A). State laws also may give...

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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