Early Childhood

Early Care and Education Advocacy: A Tip Sheet for Housing and Homeless Assistance Providers

Basic information to help housing and homeless assistance providers advocate with their families and youth for appropriate educational services, from prenatal to postsecondary.

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This short document provides basic information to help housing and homeless assistance providers advocate with their families and youth for appropriate educational services, from birth through higher education. The rights and protections outlined here apply to all children and youth experiencing homelessness, as defined by the education subtitle of the McKinney-Vento Act. [i]

Why is education advocacy important for housing and homeless assistance providers?

Requirements for HUD Homeless Assistance Providers

The HEARTH Act includes requirements for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Homeless Assistance providers to support children, youth, and families:

Babies, Toddlers and Young Children

School-Aged Children and Youth

The McKinney-Vento Act provides many rights to children and youth experiencing homelessness, including the rights to:

Visit this directory of state coordinators for the education of homeless children and youth to find your State Coordinator, who can share local contact information.

Learn more about PreK-12 and Homelessness

Transition into Postsecondary

In high school:

In higher education:


[i] This definition includes:

“(i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals[i];

(ii) children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings (within the meaning of section 103(a)(2)(C));

(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings….” 42 USC 11434A(2).

[ii] M. Morton, A. Dworsky & G.M. Samuels (2017). Missed opportunities: Youth homelessness in America. National estimates. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

[iii] F. Campbell, C. Ramey, E. Pungello, J. Sparling & S. Miller-Johnson (2002). “Early Childhood Education: Young Adult Outcomes from the Abecedarian Project.” Applied Developmental Science, vol. 6, no. 1, 42-57.

[iv] M. Morton (2017).

[v] See, e.g., Federal Reserve Bank of New York (2017). Press Briefing on Household Debt, with Focus on Student Debt. Accessed June 3, 2018 at https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/press/PressBriefing-Household- Student-Debt-April32017.pdf; A. Carnevale, N, Smith & J. Strohl (2014). Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Accessed June 3, 2018 at: https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp- content/uploads/2014/11/Recovery2020.ES_.Web_.pdf.

[vi] The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009, Section 427(B)(iii).

[vii] HEARTH Act Section 426(b)(4)(C)&(D).