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


$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


Supporting Young Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness with American Rescue Plan Act Funds

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), Congress’ most recent package for COVID-19 relief, includes billions of dollars dedicated to infants, toddlers, and children under the age of six. In addition to the $800 million in education funding included for identifying and supporting children and youth experiencing homelessness, there are opportunities across other funding streams to target supports for young children and families experiencing homelessness. This document provides recommendations for home visiting, child care providers, head start and early head start programs, and local education agencies.

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Navigating the American Rescue Plan Act’s Relief for Children, Youth, and Families Experiencing Homelessness

The American Rescue Plan Act provides significant new resources to meet the education, early care, food, housing, and other basic needs of children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness. This navigation tool is designed to help early care, educators, and service providers navigate the major funding streams and connect with local and state agencies to help families and youth access assistance.

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GUEST BLOGS


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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As Communities Reopen, Remember the Library

Written by Vikki C. Terrile, Librarian and Assistant Professor, Queensborough Community College, CUNY, Bayside, NY. “Libraries are often a lifeline for families in homeless situations. Prior to the pandemic, they were the place where kids and parents could come to use computers, access services, attend programs, and of course, read and borrow books and other materials. For families staying in shelters or other settings that required them to leave during the day, libraries were likely the only safe indoor space they could visit that didn’t cost money while also offering a wide range of services and amenities.”

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Q & A FROM OUR INBOXES

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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