Newsletter (September 12, 2023)

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Back-to-school season is in full swing! This newsletter provides many updated tools and resources to support the 1.1 million students experiencing homelessness in the United States.

📃 The McKinney-Vento Act

The McKinney-Vento Act provides rights and services to children and youth experiencing homelessness, including those who are: sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; staying in motels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to the lack of an adequate alternative; staying in shelters or transitional housing; or sleeping in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, or similar settings. 

⬇️Download this flyer on the Federal Education Definition of Homelessness

A quick refresher on the McKinney-Vento Act:

🔎 Identification

Identifying students experiencing homelessness is a core duty of LEA homeless liaisons, outlined in the McKinney-Vento Act. These checklists provide strategies and resources to ensure that students experiencing homelessness are identified as soon as possible, and receive support after they have been identified. 

❕Potential Indicators of Homelessness

Student homelessness doesn’t always look like we expect. A national study found that 67% of students experiencing homelessness were uncomfortable telling people at school about their homelessness and asking for help. This resource describes certain struggles or behaviors that may be indicators of homelessness, explains how we can reframe our thinking to better support students, and offers strategies to assist in the identification process by looking for red flags.

💰 ARP-HCY Funding 

This year, we’re especially committed to helping you make the most of the remaining twelve months of ARP-HCY funding (funds must be obligated by September 2024 and spent by January 2025) to identify and support children and youth experiencing homelessness. Be sure to explore our “Flexing the Flexibility of ARP-HCY” series, which include topics such as utilizing store cards, meeting transportation needs, emergency motel stays, expanding staff capacity, facilitating the transition to postsecondary education, addressing early childhood needs, and providing assistance to immigrant students.

💻 Join SHC’s Office Hours + Special Webinars

Please consider us as a part of your support team. Have questions about implementing McKinney-Vento? Sign up for our office hours on September 14 and September 21.

On September 12, Adam Schott, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education, will join the webinar on American Rescue Plan – Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) funds. Join us from 3-4pm Eastern.

On September 26, we are partnering with the Learning Policy Institute for a webinar on “Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness with American Rescue Plan Funds.” Join us to learn about key findings from a study that examined the federal and state education funding for students experiencing homelessness, and hear how school district liaisons and administrators are using these one-time funds to improve outcomes for students experiencing homelessness, including by addressing chronic absenteeism, mental health, and other urgent needs.

On October 20, we’ll be joined by Georgia’s EMBARK program and Kennesaw State University to learn strategies for how K-12 and higher education partners can support active recruitment of homeless and foster youth, and help ease the transition from high school to postsecondary. Join us.

💡 Get Help

We receive many questions from the field about the education and care of children and youth experiencing homelessness, we respond to the questions and feature them here.

We also updated our homeless education directory to now include contact information for Head Start Collaboration Offices and for Homeless Higher Education Liaisons for those states that have designated homeless higher education liaisons.

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