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.

About Us



Final Spending Package Provides Short-Term Help But Much More Must Be Done

On December 21, Congress passed a legislative package including over $900 billion for emergency coronavirus relief, and $1.4 trillion for the final fiscal year 2021 (FY21) budget. The emergency coronavirus funds are intended as a stop-gap measure, providing much-needed immediate relief over the next few months, until the new Congress convenes.

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FAFSA Fixes for Homeless and Foster Youth Included in Final Funding Bill

Congressional leaders announced that the final FY2021 funding legislation to be voted on today will include provisions to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), including many measures to remove financial aid barriers for unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness, and former foster youth. SchoolHouse Connection is thrilled to announce this historic win at the close of a challenging year for children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness. It is a culmination of a decade of consistent, bipartisan advocacy to help youth experiencing homelessness and from foster care access financial aid.

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Economic Stimulus Payments: How to Help Homeless Youth Access Economic Stimulus Payments

Cash going directly to youth experiencing homelessness has been shown to significantly help these youth stabilize and exit homelessness. Economic Stimulus Payments are one way to get cash directly to young people who need it the most. We know that young people and those helping them access these funds have encountered multiple barriers. This tip sheet is the best advice we have received.

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New FAFSA Policies for Homeless and Foster Youth

On December 27th, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 was signed into law. This legislation includes significant new financial aid policies, including revisions to the Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) for unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness and former foster youth. The changes reflect many years of SchoolHouse Connection’s advocacy; they will remove many barriers to financial aid faced by young people and improve their ability to access and complete higher education. This brief document summarizes the provisions related to homelessness and foster care and includes links to helpful resources.

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On Passing the Bar and Becoming a Lawyer

“I’ve always known I wanted to be an attorney. My mom used to say I decided that at age seven and stuck with it. And it’s true, through being homeless in high school, and working three jobs in undergrad, to half starving my way through law school, I had one goal: become a lawyer. Then I failed that damn bar exam and it broke me. I didn’t mean to let it, but it did. After overcoming so many hardships, this damn test took me down. And the shame… the shame of knowing that I had what it takes to pass, but hadn’t… The shame of watching all of my friends pass. And the loss… the loss of all that I’d thought I’d be.” In this blog, Bréyon Austin shares how she turned the pain of 2020 into triumph.

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What USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) rules are applicable as we return to school this year?

Answer: At the start of school closures in the spring, FNS waived the requirement to serve school meals in a congregate setting; allowed delivery of school meals; and waived meal time requirements. Parents and guardians also were permitted to pick up or receive meals...

Can an LEA deny a McKinney-Vento student enrollment in a learning model (distance vs. in-person vs. hybrid) if the LEA has reached capacity in the desired learning model? For example, a family was not able to make the enrollment choice by the LEA’s deadline due to homelessness, or a parent changes her mind after a few weeks.

Answer: There is specific language in the McKinney-Vento Act that addresses this question. First: “C) IMMEDIATE ENROLLMENT- (i) IN GENERAL.-- The school selected in accordance with this paragraph shall immediately enroll the homeless child or youth, even if the child...

We have an unaccompanied homeless youth staying with us. We are trying to help him enroll in community college. The college said that he should fill out the FAFSA and ask his mother to fill out her portion. If she refuses, they will set up an interview to assess if he qualifies as homeless. Is this right?

Answer: No. The student should not ask his mother to complete the FAFSA.  He qualifies as an unaccompanied homeless youth and is independent for the FAFSA. If he cannot produce verification from a liaison or shelter, then the financial aid administrator (FAA) at his...

My transportation director is trying to put a mileage limit on how far we transport our McKinney Vento students. Does the McKinney-Vento Act permit a blanket mileage limit for school of origin transportation?

Answer: No it does not. The McKinney-Vento Act requires LEAs to provide transportation to the school of origin at the request of a parent or guardian or, for unaccompanied youth, at the McKinney-Vento liaison’s request. 42 USC 11432(g)(1)(J)(iii). Transportation...

Can an LEA reserve Title I-A funds only for transportation and/or only for the liaison, and reserve nothing for comparable services?

Answer: No. The Title I homeless set-aside requires the provision of comparable services. 20 U.S.C. 6313(c)(3) The homeless set-aside is required of all LEAs that get Title IA funds. Comparable services are required as part of that set-aside. Additional set-aside...

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 2017-18 school year, public schools identified more than 1.5 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.


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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