Building Teams for Change: SchoolHouse Connection’s State Policy Program is Underway!
SchoolHouse Connection’s new, three-year state policy program has taken off. “Building Teams for Change” will support state-based teams around the country in achieving lasting, state-level policy changes that will end homelessness for many youth and improve the lives and futures of young people experiencing homelessness in up to forty states.
In the first year of the program, we will work with partners in ten states, including: Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Utah. We’ve begun reaching out to stakeholders in those states, and will launch a State of Youth Homelessness Policy assessment survey in July. The survey will identify state policy barriers to serving young people experiencing homelessness and prioritize the policies that teams will seek to change over the next legislative cycle. We will roll out State Advocacy Institutes in our target states over the course of the fall and winter. The institutes will provide diverse teams of young people and advocates with intensive training and tools to obtain state-level legislative and/or administrative policy changes. Young adult leaders will drive the teams.
In subsequent years, Building Teams for Change will scale-up its State Advocacy Institute model by launching a train-the-trainer program that will equip smaller teams of advocates in thirty additional states with the knowledge and tools they need to lead State Advocacy Institutes in their states. In addition, through mini-grants and more in-depth technical assistance, SchoolHouse Connection will provide the teams with more intensive support to engage in successful state-level policy advocacy.
By 2019, Building Teams for Change will result in state law and policy changes that help prevent and end youth homelessness in real, measurable ways. At the end of three years, our goal is to support state partners in creating a sustained, nationwide network of effective youth homelessness policy advocates at the state level.
Some of our early partners include school district McKinney-Vento liaisons, university social work programs, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuums of Care, Mercury Media, Texas Network of Youth Services, Strong Families Action Team, the California Homeless Youth Project, and concerned members of civic groups and faith communities.
Those interested in participating in a State Policy Institute or becoming involved in Building Teams for Change to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about state policy, see our series of short state law briefs and other resources, below.
SchoolHouse Connection State Law Briefs
- Current and Pending State Laws Allowing Unaccompanied Homeless Youth to Consent for Housing and Related Services. Several state legislatures have recognized that unaccompanied homeless youth under age 18 need legal rights to access housing, shelter and other basic services. This document summarizes state laws, including recently enacted legislation in Wyoming, and a currently pending bill that SchoolHouse Connection is working on with partners in Arizona.
- State Laws on High School Graduation for Students Experiencing Homelessness The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) places great emphasis on high school graduation for students experiencing homelessness. This document summarizes state laws that complement these federal requirements.
- State Laws Supporting College Students Experiencing Homelessness. State legislatures have been actively supporting college students experiencing homelessness over the past few years. This document provides a summary of existing strong state laws. SchoolHouse Connection is working with partners in Texas on a new state law to support the thousands of Texas students striving to complete college without safe, stable housing.