News and Updates

 

Supporting the Attendance of Students Experiencing Homelessness

Children and youth experiencing homelessness are chronically absent from school at a rate at least twice that of the overall student population, and significantly more often than their housed, low-income peers. The mobility, poverty, and trauma associated with homelessness affects students’ emotional and physical health, hygiene, preparedness for school, transportation options, and other factors that increase absenteeism. Chronic absences increase the likelihood that a student will drop out of high school, which can perpetuate child and youth homelessness. This brief shares strategies that schools, districts, and communities are implementing to help ensure that students experiencing homelessness are in school, every day.

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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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Congress Passes Final FY2020 Federal Budget

On Thursday, December 19, the Senate passed the final FY2020 appropriations bills, H.R. 1158 and H.R. 1865, sending them on to the President for his signature. The two federal programs specifically targeted to support children and youth experiencing homelessness received funding increases in the final legislation, as did other vital early care, education, and housing programs.

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2019 Legislative Recap and 2020 Outlook

Many bills on child, youth, and family homelessness were introduced in the first session of the 116th Congress, and will continue to make their way through the legislative process next year. We’ve briefly summarized the status of eight of the bills that impact children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness most directly, starting with SchoolHouse Connection’s top legislative priorities.

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The Affordable Housing for Educational Achievement Demonstration Act of 2019

On December 10, 2019, the Affordable Housing for Educational Achievement Demonstration Act of 2019 (the AHEAD Act, S. 3011) was introduced to provide funding to help school districts, housing authorities, and community partners to collaborate in unprecedented ways to address children’s education and housing needs in a coordinated fashion. Please take one minute to help school districts, housing authorities and our local communities address the unique needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness.

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Editable “Know Your Rights” Flyers

“Know Your Rights” flyers can help get the word out about the rights of students experiencing homelessness, while also helping parents and youth understand how sharing their situation can increase access to and stability in school. We’ve created simple flyers for parents and for unaccompanied youth that can be edited for specific communities. We invite you to download and insert your logo, website, and local contact information.

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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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U.S. Senate Passes Bipartisan Resolution Recognizing November 2019 as “National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month”

On November 14, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan resolution introduced by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), and cosponsored by twelve other U.S. Senators, recognizing November 2019 as “National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month.” It is the first resolution to recognize both child and youth homelessness, from infancy to young adulthood.

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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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