Building Teams for Change:
Changing State Policy to Change Lives
While Congress remains deeply divided over issues such as the budget and immigration, many opportunities exist for creating systemic change through state policy. State policy change is especially relevant to addressing youth
SchoolHouse Connection’s state policy program, “Building Teams for Change,” supports state-based teams in achieving lasting, state-level policy changes that will end homelessness for many
Like our federal policy advocacy, our state policy advocacy embodies the principle that change must be rooted in the realities of local communities, reflect local concerns, and represent locally-devised solutions.
Therefore, our state advocacy begins with surveys of young people and providers to identify policy barriers preventing youth experiencing homelessness from receiving assistance in each state. Then, we convene open stakeholder meetings to review survey results, develop policy proposals, and provide interactive, state-policy training.
In November 2017, we held our first three State Advocacy Institutes in Tennessee, Kentucky
- In Kentucky, five high school students and one college student attended the Institute and shared their views on barriers and solutions.
- In Indiana, we partnered with the Indiana Youth Institute to pair our meeting with their
BecauseKids Count statewide conference. The Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) and the Indiana Youth Services Association are helping to take the lead on state policy work there.
- In Tennessee, McKinney-Vento liaisons from across the state led the charge, with Middle Tennessee State University and the United Way providing important support.
SchoolHouse Connection State Law Briefs
- Current and Pending State Laws Allowing Unaccompanied Homeless Youth to Consent
forHousing 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.