Featured Post:

April 17, 2018

  • Action Needed: Child Care for Families Experiencing Homelessness
    • There is a critical opportunity to increase access to child care through the state planning process. States must submit their Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan for 2019-2021 by June 30, 2018. With a historic $2.37 billion increase in FY2018 CCDF funding – the largest increase in child care funding of all time – it is especially important to find out how you can weigh in to improve child care for families experiencing homelessness.

SHC’s Top Legislative Priorities:

#1 Programs that Provide Targeted Funding for Homeless Children and Youth.
  • Summary: Now that the FY2018 budget has been enacted, Congress will turn its attention to the FY2019 budget.
  • Action Needed: We urge you to communicate with your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative in support of the only two federal programs specifically targeted to supporting homeless children and youth – the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program (EHCY) and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs. Please consider meeting with your Members of Congress, or their staff, during the upcoming two-week Congressional recess, March 26-April 6, and in the weeks that follow. We’ve created a sample letter in Microsoft Word. Download the letter, edit it, and send one version to your U.S. Representative, and one version to both of your U.S. Senators.
#2 The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act (HEASHFY, S.1795/H.R. 3740).
  • Summary: HEASHFY streamlines the financial aid process for homeless and foster youth and requires colleges and universities to designate single points of contact to assist homeless and foster youth, and to develop a plan to assist youth to access housing resources during and between academic terms. Read more about the bill, and watch a SchoolHouse Connection Young Leader testify before the Senate HELP Committee.
  • Current status: HEASHFY was introduced on September 12, 2017, with the goal of being incorporated into the larger HEA reauthorization. As of December 2017, this bi-partisan bill has three sponsors in the Senate, and five sponsors in the House.
  • Action needed: The current goal for HEASHFY advocacy is to increase the number of co-sponsors in order to signal strong support to the education committees and Congressional leadership. Please urge your Members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors. We’ve created two sample letters in Microsoft Word – one for your U.S. Senators, and one for your U.S. Representative. Please download the letters and personalize them with local or state facts, as well as your own perspectives and experiences. Contact information for U.S. Senators may be found here. Contact information for U.S. Representatives may be found here.
#3 The Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA, H.R. 1511/S. 611).
  • Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) are the latest U.S. Senators to co-sponsor of S. 611, the Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA). HCYA is bi-partisan legislation that reforms HUD Homeless Assistance to meet the needs of homeless children, youth, and families.  It allows some of the most vulnerable homeless families and youth – those staying with others because they have nowhere else to go, and those staying in motels – to be eligible for HUD homeless assistance by aligning eligibility criteria with those of other federal programs. HCYA also prohibits HUD from imposing national priorities on local communities for specific program models (like Rapid Rehousing) or specific populations (like chronically homeless adults). It would align HUD homeless assistance with child and youth serving systems, including early childhood programs, public schools, and institutions of higher education.  Read more.
  • Current status: HCYA was introduced on March 13, 2017. As of December 2017, this bi-partisan bill has eight sponsors in the Senate, and eight sponsors in the House.
  • Action needed: The current goal for HCYA advocacy is to increase the number of co-sponsors in order to signal strong support to the committees of jurisdiction and Congressional leadership. Please urge your Members of Congress to sign as co-sponsors of /H.R. 1511/S. 611 here. We strongly urge local meetings with your Members to explain what is at stake for children, youth, and families, and why these reforms are necessary in your community. Contact information for U.S. Senators may be found here. Contact information for U.S. Representatives may be found here.

April 9, 2018

March 23, 2018

  • Historic Funding Increases for Homeless Children and Youth in FY18 Bill
    • The recently enacted FY2018 omnibus funding legislation includes historic increases for programs serving homeless children and youth, including an increase of over 10% for the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program, and a 7% increase in funding for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act program. Learn what was enacted in the FY18 budget, and find out what’s next for the FY2019 budget.

March 20, 2018

  • Record Number of US Reps sign EHCY/RHYA Funding Letter
    • Over 70 U.S. Representatives signed a “Dear Colleague” letter urging robust FY2019 funding for the Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) and Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs. The bipartisan letter, which was spearheaded by U.S. Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL), David Reichert (R-WA), John Yarmuth (D-KY), and Jeff Denham (R-CA), signals strong support for both EHCY and RHYA programs. Meanwhile FY2018 funding levels have not been finalized.

March 8, 2018

  • Breaking News: Action Needed by March 14th to Support Funding for Homeless Children and Youth
    • A critical and time-sensitive opportunity for appropriations advocacy is a “Dear Colleague” letter. Dear Colleague letters are requests from some members of Congress to other members of Congress, asking them to sign-on to show support for funding for certain programs. Please contact your U.S. Representatives NOW to urge them to sign on to the Davis/Reichert/Yarmuth/Denham letter.

February 12, 2018

  • Federal Budget Update: FY2018 and FY2019
    • The fiscal year 2019 budget process kicked off this week with the release of the President’s FY2019 budget proposal, and yet Congress still hasn’t finalized funding levels for FY2018. To help provide clarity, we present basic information about the status of the FY2018 and FY2019 federal budgets, proposed funding levels for programs serving children and youth experiencing homelessness, and recommended advocacy steps.

February 9, 2018

  • Disaster Funding for Homeless Students in Budget Deal
    • Early this morning, Congress passed budget legislation to keep the government open until March 23. The legislation provides nearly $90 billion in emergency disaster relief for states and communities affected by recent hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters, and contains a two-year agreement setting defense and nondefense spending levels for FY2018 and FY2019.

December 22, 2017

  • Programs that Provide Targeted Funding for Homeless Children and Youth.
    • Summary: FY2018 funding for the only two federal programs specifically targeted to supporting homeless children and youth – the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program (EHCY) and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs – hangs in the balance of the broader budget debate. Both House and Senate FY2018 appropriations bills provided flat funding for these programs ($77 million and $119 million, respectively).
    • Current status: Congress has delayed decisions on FY2018 funding until February 8, 2018, when the most recently passed Continuing Resolution will expire.
    • Action Needed: We urge you to communicate with your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative in support of EHCY and RHYA funding. We’ve created a sample letter in Microsoft Word. Download the letter, edit it, and send one version to your U.S. Representative, and one version to both of your U.S. Senators.

December 22, 2017

  • Disaster Assistance for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.
    • Summary: The disasters that occurred in 2017 are increasing the number of homeless children and youth: public schools have enrolled at least 46,000 newly homeless children and youth as a direct result of the 2017 hurricanes alone – a number that is expected to continue to increase. The McKinney-Vento Act’s EHCY program provides an efficient, existing infrastructure to serve these students. However, schools face significant costs in meeting the needs of newly homeless children and youth, including transportation, counseling, basic and school supplies, and staff time.
    • Current status: On December 21, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4667, an $81 billion disaster relief package. As part of $2.9 billion in emergency assistance funding for schools and colleges, the legislation includes $25 million in McKinney-Vento funding to help children and youth who are homeless and displaced due to disasters. The bill also includes $200 million for institutions of higher education located in an area affected by a disaster, with a requirement for the U.S. Department of Education to prioritize assistance for college students who are homeless as a result of displacement, and for institutions that have sustained extensive damage. In addition to education funding, the disaster relief bill contains $650 million for Head Start, for necessary expenses directly related to the consequences of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria.
    • The U.S. Senate did not take up the measure before it adjourned, leaving the ultimate fate of the disaster assistance funding to be decided in January. Read more about the need for supplemental disaster assistance to meet the educational needs of homeless children and youth.

December 19, 2017

  • House Appropriations bill includes $25 million in McKinney-Vento funding to help homeless children displaced due to disasters
    • On December 18, House appropriators unveiled an $81 billion disaster relief spending package that includes:
      • $2.9 billion in emergency assistance funding for schools and colleges, the bulk of which is immediate aid to restart school operations and temporary emergency impact aid for displaced students. Included in the $2.9 billion in education funding is:
        • $25 million in McKinney-Vento funding to help children and youth who are homeless and displaced due to disasters.
        • $200 million for institutions of higher education located in an area affected by a disaster, with a requirement for the U.S. Department of Education to prioritize assistance for college students who are homeless as a result of displacement, and institutions that have sustained extensive damage.

May 24, 2017

  • President’s FY2018 Budget Proposal and Homelessness
    • On May 23, President Trump released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal. The President’s budget proposal is just that – a proposal that signals the Administration’s priorities for the nation. However, Congress ultimately will define the budget. Congress determines funding levels for individual federal programs, as well as overarching budget issues (such as caps on discretionary and non-discretionary funding).

May 8, 2017

  • Funding Wins in Final FY17 Budget, But FY2018 Uncertain
    • Last week, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (H.R. 244) was signed into law, wrapping up the FY2017 budget. H.R. 244 funds federal education programs for the 2017-2018 school year. Although the final FY2017 budget increases funding for education and homeless programs, prospects for the FY2018 budget may be much different. Without an agreement on how to reconcile larger budget issues, such as caps on discretionary and non-discretionary funding, the prospect of both targeted and across-the-board budget cuts in FY2018 looms large.

May 1, 2017

  • FY2017 Budget Bill Includes Increased Funding for Homeless Programs
    • Congressional negotiators have reached an agreement on legislation to fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. The final FY2017 appropriations bill includes increases in federal funding for homelessness programs, including a 10% increase in funding for the Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY Program).

March 9, 2017

  • Budget Cuts and Homeless Children and Youth
    • As expected, the federal budget will take center stage in Congress over the next weeks and months. In this post, we explain the current status of federal appropriations, what’s at stake for children and youth experiencing homelessness, and what you can do about it.

January 25, 2017

November 4, 2017

  • Bipartisan Legislation for Education and Employment Introduced
    • On November 3, Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Seth Moulton (D-MA) introduced the “Preparing Homeless Youth for Education and Employment Act,” bipartisan legislation to provide access to dropout prevention and college and career counseling services to homeless youth.

June 23, 2017

March 13, 2017

March 9, 2017

  • Senate Votes to Rescind ESSA Regulations
    • The U.S. Senate voted today to rescind ESSA regulations related to accountability and state plans by a vote of 50-49 . The measure now will move to the President’s desk for signature. This action will not affect the ESSA amendments made to the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program, which are in statute, and are in effect now.

March 8, 2017

February 10, 2017

  • ESSA Regulations Remain in Question, But McKinney-Vento Clarity Emerges
    • The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act went into effect on October 1, 2016, yet the fate of subsequent regulations on state plans and accountability under Title I Part A remains in question. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on February 7 to prevent these regulations from taking effect. A Senate resolution is expected soon.

February 7, 2017

February 7, 2017

  • House Passes Resolution to Prevent Implementation of ESSA Accountability Regulations
    • On February 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution (HR 57) introduced by Congressman Todd Rokita (R-IN) that would prevent recently-issued regulations on state plans and accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) from taking effect. If enacted, this resolution (adopted pursuant to the Congressional Review Act) also would prevent future administrations from promulgating similar rules. It is unclear when a similar resolution will be taken up in the Senate.
April 17, 2018

  • Action Needed: Child Care for Families Experiencing Homelessness
    • There is a critical opportunity to increase access to child care through the state planning process. States must submit their Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan for 2019-2021 by June 30, 2018. With a historic $2.37 billion increase in FY2018 CCDF funding – the largest increase in child care funding of all time – it is especially important to find out how you can weigh in to improve child care for families experiencing homelessness.

September 14, 2017

  • The Child Care for Working Families Act (S.1806/H.R. 3773).
    • Summary: The Child Care for Working Families Act is the Democratic proposal on child care and early learning. Under the legislation, no family under 150% of state median income would pay more than seven percent of their income on child care. The bill also supports universal access to preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year old.
    • Current Status: The Child Care for Working Families Act was introduced on September 14, 2017. As of December 2017, it had 29 cosponsors in the U.S. Senate, and 108 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives.

December 1, 2017

  • Fixing the FAFSA for Homeless Youth: Congress Begins HEA Reauthorization with Testimony from a SHC Leader
    • On November 27, the 115th Congress began the reauthorization process for the Higher Education Act (HEA) with a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The HELP Committee hearing featured testimony from Elaine Williams, a SchoolHouse Connection Young Leader and remarkable advocate for homeless youth in Richmond, VA. Learn about the hearing, the current status of HEA reauthorization, and the critical link between education, employment, and homelessness.

September 13, 2017

April 22, 2017

March 7, 2017

October 13, 2017

  • School-Housing Partnership Legislation Introduced
    • On October 12, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced legislation to incentivize housing authorities and school districts to work together to address and prevent family homelessness. The Affordable Housing for Educational Achievement Demonstration (AHEAD) Act (S. 1949) authorizes $150 million for a new demonstration program to be jointly administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

June 6, 2017

  • New Video Adds Urgency to HUD Homeless Assistance Reform
    • A powerful new film from HEAR US premiered on June 6 at a Congressional briefing sponsored by the American Psychological Association, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Center on Housing & Child Welfare, and SchoolHouse Connection. Both the film and the Congressional briefing make a strong case for the Homeless Children and Youth Act (H.R. 1511/S. 611), bipartisan legislation that addresses long-standing flaws in federal homeless policy, and makes it easier for communities to help children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness.

March 27, 2017

March 15, 2017

  • Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Help Homeless Children, Youth, and Families
    • On March 14, the Homeless Children and Youth Act (H.R. 1511/S. 611) was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. This bi-partisan legislation would make it easier for local communities to help children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness, and help put an end to the cycle of homelessness.

Legislative Summaries:

December 22, 2017

  • 2017 Legislative Wrap Up and Look Ahead to 2018
    • The first session of the 115th Congress has come to a close. Many bills on child, youth, and family homelessness were introduced in 2017, and will continue to make their way through the legislative process next year. While issues like tax, immigration, entitlement spending, and welfare reform may have significant impacts on homeless children and youth, we’ve summarized twelve of the bills that affect children and youth experiencing homelessness most directly, starting with SchoolHouse Connection’s top legislative priorities.

April 22, 2017

December 11, 2016

  • Wrapping Up 2016 and Looking Ahead
    • Welcome to our first legislative and policy post. For our first update, we’ll take a quick look back at 2016, and a longer look forward to 2017.

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