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.

The Issue

Child and youth homelessness is widespread and devastating – but hidden. Education can help break the cycle.

news

NEW RESOURCES


ARP-HCY State Set-Aside Checklist

The American Rescue Plan Act provided $800 million in funding specifically dedicated to support the identification, enrollment, and school participation of children and youth experiencing homelessness, including through wrap-around services. These funds, known as American Rescue Plan-Homeless Children and Youth Funds (ARP-HCY), were released in two phases.

The purpose of this checklist is to help guide state decisions in allocating and using state set-aside ARP-HCY funds to best meet the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness.

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Hidden Homelessness: Why Child, Youth, and Family Homelessness is a Crisis We Cannot Ignore

Through first-person storytelling, the series explores the ways in which homelessness is an equity issue that is inextricably connected to others; it is an experience that many vulnerable student groups face at disproportionate rates and intersects deeply with other national crises of mental health, academic achievement gaps, xenophobia, and the impacts of systemic racism. Our five storytellers — two high school students and three school district homeless liaisons — remind us how the homelessness crisis underlies many others and therefore why federal policies and services for vulnerable children and youth must address the full picture of their lived experiences.

Hidden Homelessness: We Cannot Ignore the Systemic Failures that Perpetuate, and Compound the Trauma of Youth Homelessness

Hidden Homelessness: Education is a Right — And for Youth Who Are Homeless, Federal Support Is a Lifeline

Hidden Homelessness: The Mental Health and Homelessness Crises are Intrinsically Tied. Federal Support Has Never Been More Critical.

Hidden Homelessness: For a Student Experiencing Homelessness, The Power of a Caring Educator Can Make All the Difference

Hidden Homelessness: High School is Hard. But Imagine The Mental Toll of Experiencing Homelessness Through It.

Hidden Homelessness: Why Districts Need Increased and Sustained Funding To Support Students Experiencing Homelessness

policy

POLICY UPDATES


92 Members of Congress Show Support for $800 Million for Homeless Students

In May 2022, 92 U.S. Representatives signed a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter in support of $800 million in funding for the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program, the same amount as provided through a bipartisan amendment to the American Rescue Plan Act. The letter also called for $300 million for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs. The letter was authored by U.S. Representatives John Yarmuth (D-KY), Don Bacon (R-NE), and Danny Davis (D-IL).

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Support Homeless and Foster Youth in Higher Education: Take Action to Support Four Federal Bills

Postsecondary attainment is increasingly necessary to move out of poverty and homelessness and live a healthy, secure life. However, homeless and foster youth face unique barriers to accessing and completing higher education, including lack of family and supportive adults, histories of neglect, abuse, trauma, mobility, and severe poverty. Four complementary bills will help homeless and foster youth transition successfully to and through higher education, and receive the support they need to complete their degrees and achieve economic independence.

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Recommendations for the Implementation of the FAFSA Simplification Act

Here are the final comments specific to homeless and foster youth provisions on the 2023-2024 FAFSA. We urge ED to take every possible step to implement these provisions as soon as possible, including incorporating them on the 2023-2024 FAFSA. In particular, we urge that the following FAFSA Simplification changes be reflected on the 2023-2024 FAFSA.

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GUEST BLOGS


Young People Explain Four Higher Education Bills

On Wednesday, May 11, SchoolHouse Connection, John Burton Advocates for Youth, and the Youth Law Center, organized a Congressional briefing in collaboration with the Offices of Representative Danny Davis and Senator Bob Casey. Senator Patty Murray was an honorary co-host. Young people with lived experience in the foster care system and with homelessness explained four higher education bills that would have a significant and positive impact on the lives and futures of young people. These young leaders also discussed the need for reform of the Chafee Education and Training Voucher Program and in the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement for federal financial aid.

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Q & A FROM OUR INBOXES

I got a referral from a mother and child who are staying in a transitional housing program run by a local substance abuse treatment program. The housing program is not a homeless transitional housing situation; it’s just a continuation of the parent’s treatment. Is the student eligible under McKinney-Vento?

Answer: Since the parent is in the program for substance abuse treatment and not due to homelessness necessarily, you need to talk with the parent about what their housing situation was prior to entry into the program. If the family has (or had) a fixed, regular, and...

I am working with a 17 year old student who is on her own and trying to apply for a U.S. passport. She doesn’t know where her parents are. Do you have suggestions for how she can obtain one?

Answer: Unfortunately, she must show that at least one parent is aware that she’s applying for a passport. There does not appear to be any way around that requirement until she turns 18. More information is available on this website. Read more Q&A from Our...

I have a question about eligibility in doubled-up situations, when a mom moves in with a boyfriend. Eligibility is clear when one partner was evicted, so they moved in with the other partner. However, what guidance can you provide when one partner moves in with the other, and both are contributing somewhat to the household. In this case, would we identify the students under McKinney-Vento?

A: Every situation needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. There are questions you'll want to consider when thinking about the situation you described: Was there a loss of housing? Are they sharing housing due to financial hardship? Are they both on the lease...

Early Childhood

Infants are at greater risk of living in homeless shelters than any other age group in the United States. Early childhood programs prevent the harmful life-long effects of homelessness on education, health and well-being.

PreK-12

In the 2019-20 school year, public schools identified nearly 1.3 million homeless students. Schools provide basic needs, caring adults, stability, normalcy, and the skills to avoid homelessness as adults.

Higher Education

The majority of well-paying jobs created today require education beyond high school. Post-secondary attainment is increasingly necessary to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness, and live a healthy, productive life.

Unaccompanied Youth

Unaccompanied homeless youth are young people experiencing homelessness who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. 4.2 million youth and young adults experience homelessness each year.

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How to Contact your McKinney-Vento Liaison

Under the McKinney-Vento Act, every local educational agency is required to designate a liaison for homeless children and youth. The local educational agency liaison coordinates services to ensure that homeless children and youths enroll in school and have the opportunity to succeed academically.

Click HERE to find the contact information of your local homeless education liaison.

Note: This contact information may change frequently due to staff turnover. If you have problems finding the right school district homeless liaison, please contact your state homeless education coordinator.

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