House Committee Passes Higher Education Bill with Provisions to Help Homeless and Foster Youth

On Thursday, October 31, the College Affordability Act (H.R. 4674) was voted out of the House Education and Labor Committee by a vote of 28-22. It is a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that also includes many provisions to remove barriers to higher education for youth experiencing homelessness and youth from foster care, including those in the bipartisan Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act (S.789/H.R. 1724), or HEASHFY. Learn more and take action.

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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 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...

An aunt attempted to enroll her nephew in school. The child and his father are residing with her temporarily and qualify for McKinney-Vento services. The father is newly employed, speaks only Spanish, does not have a cell phone, and has not been able to take off work to do the enrollment. Our district wants to require the father to come in to do the enrollment. What should I do?

Answer: The barrier to enrollment here appears to be the father’s work schedule, rather than homelessness per se. What does the district do when parents cannot take off work to complete school enrollment procedures? Is there a process for these students generally? It...

Do you have any suggestions for how school district McKinney-Vento programs can receive donations for McKinney-Vento students? It’s a problem for our school district to receive cash donations or grants.

Answer: Many school district McKinney-Vento programs create an independent non-profit organization or foundation (that is either affiliated with the school district by an MOU or is totally separate) to receive donations and grants. By going this route, the...

Is it allowable to use Title IA funds to buy things like diapers, a car seat, and a crib/mattress for a pregnant McKinney-Vento student?

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...

Didn’t ESSA add some preference for awarding McKinney-Vento subgrants to applicants that do not propose using McKinney-Vento funds for transportation?

Answer: You are right, there is language on this in the law. It is in the section on quality of subgrant applications: “(3) QUALITY- In determining the quality of applications under paragraph (1), the State educational agency shall consider the following: ... (G) The...

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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