Newsletter (October 5, 2023)

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Hello, 

 In Q3, our primary focus was on the back-to-school season, emphasizing the critical message that homelessness doesn’t always look like what we expect. This makes proper training for school staff particularly important, as it is the key to identifying and providing education for children and youth experiencing homelessness, their surest path out of poverty.

One especially noteworthy development occurred on September 13, 2023, when the U.S. Department of Education issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” urging State School Officers to expedite the use of American Rescue Plan Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) funds. This letter also clarified the expanded allowable uses for these funds. (Related Resource: New Federal Guidance Urges Expediting ARP-HCY Funds. Now What?)

Over the past two months, we shared newsletters covering different aspects of the back-to-school season. If you missed them, check them out:

Lastly, in case you missed it, we’ve summarized below the latest news, resources, and updates in the world of education and homelessness from July, August, and September.

Onward, 
Your SchoolHouse Connection Team

Featured Resource

Flexing the Flexibility of ARP-HCY Funding Series: Making the Most of Federal Relief Dollars to Help Students Experiencing Homelessness

  • This series highlights some specific uses of ARP-HCY funds; explains why these uses may be beneficial for students experiencing homelessness; provides strategies to address common concerns; and highlights how some school districts are using ARP-HCY funds for these purposes.
  • Now Includes: Transition from High School to Postsecondary Education; Early Childhood; Supporting Immigrant Students

Early Childhood

Referring Young Children to Early Childhood Development Programs: Checklist for Homeless Liaisons

  • Homeless liaisons have a responsibility under the McKinney-Vento Act to identify and refer younger children to early learning programs and are uniquely positioned to make those connections, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Use this checklist as a guide for ensuring young children experiencing homelessness are enrolled.

PreK-12

Supporting Children and Youth Displaced by Disasters: Five Key Policies for Schools

  • Schools can provide stability, normalcy, and support for children and youth who are displaced by disasters. This brief summarizes five key policies and provides quick tips for their implementation.

LEA McKinney-Vento Homelessness Policy Checklist

  • This checklist is intended to assist local educational agencies in evaluating their own policies. It should be utilized for collaborative reviews with other LEA staff, aimed at identifying components within McKinney-Vento compliance and highlighting areas that may require policy adjustments and improvements in LEA practices.

McKinney-Vento Act: Quick Reference

  • This resource explains the McKinney-Vento Act, summarizes some of its core provisions, and provides related resources.

Upcoming Webinar

Higher Education

2024-2025 FAFSA Delayed: What You Need to Know

  • Did you hear? The 2024-25 FAFSA is delayed. ED will release more information about the FAFSA changes, the new FAFSA form, what to do to get ready, and the impact of the delayed release soon. However, we urge our network to be proactive and offer the following strategies to get started. 

[Video] September was National Student Parent Month

  • In this video, Jillian Sitjar, Director of Higher Education Partnerships at SchoolHouse Connection, sits down with Elzbeth Islas, Director of the San Diego State University (SDSU) Women’s Resource Center, to shed light on their incredible work supporting pregnant and parenting students on campus. Learn about the Pregnant & Parenting Students Initiative (PPSI) and the essential resources it provides, including basic needs support, community-building events, and off-campus referrals. 

Updated Information on the FAFSA Simplification Act

  • 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 U.S. Department of Education (ED) started implementing the FAFSA Simplification Act in phases with the 2023-2024 FAFSA and released further guidance in April 2023.

Upcoming Webinars

Federal Policy

New Federal Guidance on Special Education: Implications for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness

  • On July 24, 2023, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) released updated guidance to improve educational opportunities for children and youth with disabilities.

Bipartisan Legislation to Help Homeless Children and Youth Reintroduced

  • On August 15, 2023, the Homeless Children and Youth Act (H.R.5221) was reintroduced by U.S. Representatives Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11,) Bill Posey (R-FL-08), Delia Ramirez (D-IL-03), and Don Bacon (R-NE-02). Most children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness are shut out of homeless assistance because they do not meet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) restrictive definition of homelessness.

How Schools Can Protect Children & Families from Losing Medicaid

  • Children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness are more likely to suffer from illness and chronic health problems that jeopardize their development, learning, and overall well being. They are likely to be eligible for Medicaid, but may face barriers enrolling and staying enrolled. SchoolHouse Connection is particularly concerned about the potential loss of access to quality and affordable health care due to current changes to Medicaid.

Join our efforts to advocate for change! Click here to join SchoolHouse Connection’s Advocacy Network.

Youth Leadership & Scholarship Program

The 2023 SchoolHouse Connection Scholarship Application is Live!

  • Our program is one of the nation’s only national scholarship programs specifically serving youth that have experienced homelessness. The goal of our program is to provide financial assistance and staff and peer support to ensure that you are successful in getting to and through higher education and into the workforce.
  • Learn More & Spread the Word

Listen to a message from our scholars!

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