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. We believe education is the only permanent solution to homelessness. Our vision is that children and youth experiencing homelessness have full access to quality learning, birth through higher education, so they will never be homeless as adults, and the next generation will never be homeless.
SchoolHouse Connection is the nation’s leading expert on the early care and education of children and youth experiencing homelessness. We have ushered to passage critical policies and programs for children and youth experiencing homelessness, and provided extensive practical assistance on these policies, including:
- The McKinney-Vento Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act;
- The Head Start Act and Program Performance Standards;
- The Higher Education Act and FAFSA rules;
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
- The Child Care and Development Fund;
- State laws increasing protections and services for unaccompanied homeless youth; and
- Housing and homeless services initiatives, including school-housing partnerships for unaccompanied homeless youth.
Our Advocacy Principles
- Education is essential. Access to education, from early childhood through post-secondary, gives children and youth the tools to end their homelessness and achieve their dreams.
- Grassroots approach. Change must be rooted in the realities of local communities. We listen and learn, then advocate and implement.
- Youth leadership. Young people are the experts on their experiences, needs and strengths. We must accept their guidance and follow their lead.
- Child development. The lack of housing, good nutrition, health care and other basic needs damages childhood development and has lifelong impacts on health and well-being. The developmental needs of children and youth must be central to all advocacy, program design, outcome measures, and policy.
- Prevention must be a priority. We will not solve adult homelessness until the complex realities and comprehensive needs of children and youth take a front seat in federal, state, and local homelessness policy. Intervening early is a key to better life outcomes and preventing future homelessness.
At the core of who we are and what we do is our large national grassroots network. We listen and learn, then advocate and implement. Our national network includes:
- young people
- school district homeless liaisons
- state coordinators for homeless education
- federal programs coordinators
- charter schools
- early childhood programs
- higher education institutions and organizations
- college access programs
- service providers
- faith communities
- local, state, and federal government agencies and offices
- legal advocacy organizations
- national and state advocacy organizations for children and youth
- others who are committed to improving the lives of children and youth experiencing homelessness