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.

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POLICY UPDATES


U.S. House Rules Committee Hosts Hearing on Ending Child Hunger

On Wednesday, September 15th, the U.S. House Committee on Rules hosted a roundtable entitled, Ending Hunger in America: Examining the Role Schools Play in Ending Hunger and Improving Nutrition. The hearing was part of a series highlighting challenges and solutions to food insecurity, and encouraging Congress and the Biden administration to take action to combat it. Here is Barbara’s testimony.

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$600M in Additional Funding Announced to Identify and Support Homeless Children & Youth

On July 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) made available a brief application for states to apply for $600 million specifically to support the school identification, enrollment, participation, and success of children and youth experiencing homelessness.

This is the second disbursement of funds through the American Rescue Plan Act; the first disbursement of $200 million (ARP Homeless I) was made available on April 23, 2021.

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NEW RESOURCES


State Laws on Minor Consent for Routine Medical Care

This document includes states with laws allowing minors, including unaccompanied homeless minors, to consent for routine health care. It does not address state laws that empower minors to consent for substance abuse treatment, mental health care, treatment for contagious diseases or reproductive health.

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GUEST BLOGS


Partnering with Black Community Based Organizations to Address Student Homelessness

Written by Earl Edwards. “As a researcher, I have spent the past six years analyzing the intersections of youth homelessness and racial inequity and have found that for several reasons, many Black youth are not disclosing their homelessness status, and attempts to identify and support them continue to fall short.” This blog describes how Black community-based organizations are underutilized resources for helping Black youth thrive academically, socially, and emotionally, especially those experiencing homelessness.

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The American Rescue Plan: Building the Bridge to Education and Beyond for Students Experiencing Homelessness

“I can remember being a young teen, living with my mother and six siblings and being locked out of the house until the early hours of the morning on multiple occasions. Abuse was prevalent in my home and trying to navigate school with honors and AP Courses throughout this experience was next to impossible. Eventually, the abuse became so bad that I had no choice but to flee.”

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Youth Homelessness & Queer Identity: There is No Single Story

“Wherever I stayed and whoever I stayed with, regardless of their intent, if they learned about my sexuality, it still put me in the vulnerable position of unstable and inconsistent housing; and when I was already vulnerable, I felt like I needed to obscure that side of me as a means of exercising control in my life over what little I had authority: the story that I presented to others.” In this powerful blog, SHC Young Leader Brandon Plowman discusses the complexity of homelessness among LGBTQ youth.

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Q & A FROM OUR INBOXES

We will be welcoming a large group of Afghan refugees next week, and we are starting the conversation around support and school enrollment for the children. I am familiar with McKinney-Vento language inclusive of migrant families, but is there anything in the language that would address the needs of refugees specifically?

Answer: There is nothing in the McKinney-Vento Act particular to refugees. However, the McKinney-Vento Act applies fully to all refugees experiencing homelessness. In general, liaisons receiving families from Afghanistan should identify them as McKinney-Vento eligible...

Can unaccompanied youth consent for a COVID-19 vaccine without a parent or legal guardian?

Answer: Medical consent laws for minors vary depending on the state and the type of care.  In most states, unaccompanied youth under age 18 can consent for routine medical care, which would encompass vaccines. A few states have specific laws on immunizations. For a...

We have an unaccompanied 17 year old student who wants to drop out. She does not want her father (her only parent) to know. Can she sign her own papers for dropping out? Do we need to tell the parent?

Answer: In general, the process for dropping out should be the same for this student as for other students. However, prior to informing the student’s father, it would be critical to discuss potential safety issues with her. For example, does the student fear abuse or...

Can we provide our Head Start agency with letters verifying homelessness? In our area, children experiencing homelessness automatically receive child care subsidies, so we provide letters.

Answer: Under FERPA, it depends on a few things. First, is the Head Start program administered by the school district?  If so, you can share the information, because you are sharing it with another district official for a legitimate educational reason. If not, do the...

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.

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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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