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.



The FAFSA Simplification Act: Youth Experiencing Homelessness and Youth with Experience in Foster Care

The FAFSA Simplification Act (enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and updated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022) aims to remove many of the barriers faced by youth experiencing homelessness or with experience in foster care. The new provisions for homeless and foster youth should go into effect for the 2023-2024 award year, and be reflected on the new FAFSA on October 1, 2022. Here’s a summary of the changes.

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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



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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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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A McKinney-Vento student lost housing in our state and temporarily moved in with a friend in another state. The student was attending our online program and would like to continue, and we agree that would be in his best interest. Does school of origin apply to this situation?

Answer: Yes. Under the McKinney-Vento Act, the right to remain in the school of origin applies across state lines. Whether a student remains in the school of origin depends on the best interest of the student, with a presumption in favor of keeping the student in the...

If Afghan evacuees are at a military base, should they be identified as McKinney-Vento eligible? Or should we wait until they are in the community to evaluate the situation?

Answer: Liaisons should identify the children as McKinney-Vento eligible now, because they lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence at this time. The vast majority will continue to be eligible after they leave the base, as well. Even if they receive...

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.


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.


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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