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 UPDATES


Emergency Legislation for Homeless Children, Youth, and Families Introduced

On Friday, August 7, U.S. Representatives John Yarmuth (D-KY), Don Bacon (R-NE), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), and Don Young (R-AK) introduced the bipartisan Emergency Family Stabilization Act, H.R. 7950 (EFSA).
This legislation is the companion bill to S. 3923, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate on June 10 by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Susan Collins (R-ME). This legislation provides flexible funding directly to community-based organizations to meet the needs of children, families, and unaccompanied youth who are experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Revising and Strengthening the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness recently requested input from stakeholders on revising the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. As one of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations on child, youth, and family homelessness, SchoolHouse Connection was invited to participate in the first stakeholder call, and also submitted formal written comments. We will continue to advocate for a strategic plan that confronts the realities of child, youth, and family homelessness, centers racial and ethnic equity, and recognizes the core role of early care and education.

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NEW RESOURCES


Tips for Preparing for an Independent Determination Financial Aid Interview

If you do not have, or cannot obtain, documentation from those individuals, your financial aid administrator is required to make a determination of your status as an unaccompanied homeless youth. The financial aid administrator’s determination may be based on a documented interview with you. This resource is designed to help unaccompanied homeless youth prepare for documented interviews with the financial aid administrator.

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Applying To College

It is never too early to prepare to apply for college. Regardless of when you begin, a good first step is to reach out to a high school counselor or a McKinney-Vento liaison to ask about your high school’s graduation requirements and steps you can take to prepare to apply for college. This resource provides an overview of items to consider when applying to college.

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GUEST PERSPECTIVES


Parenting Through Homelessness and COVID-19: The Unfiltered Truth

On July 16, 2020, we connected with four mothers from New Jersey, Louisiana, Ohio, and Louisiana to share their unique parental perspectives. Through this discussion, we learned about some of the challenges facing parents and their children who are navigating homelessness during the COVID-19 era; the assistance they have found thus far, and the support they still need, but have not yet received. 

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Homelessness and the Pandemic: Five Youth Share Insights

On July 14, 2020, we connected virtually with five youth: four SchoolHouse Connection Young Leaders and a Youth Advisor for National Network for Youth. We listened as they reflected on their childhood experiences of homelessness and shared their experiences and challenges navigating college and homelessness in the wake of COVID-19. Here is the summary of the briefing.

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Q & A FROM OUR INBOXES

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...

If a McKinney-Vento student has unpaid meal fees/fines from a time period before they became homeless, what should we do about those fees?

Answer: NCHE has a brief, which was developed in collaboration with USDA, that addresses this question: “There can be no delay in providing free meals to students who meet the relevant nutrition program eligibility criteria due to unpaid fees. In this case, the...

I have a family who has been living at a hotel for a long time. The father said that he has become the property manager there and is required to live there. Will the family continue to be covered by the McKinney-Vento Act?

Answer: In this specific case, the answer is no, the family is not eligible, but only because they are not staying at the hotel “due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations,” per the McKinney-Vento Act. 42 USC §11434a. The only caveat is if the conditions of...

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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