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:
- Tiny Steps: Equipping Homeless Children with Early Education Development
- Tools for Supporting K-12 Students Experiencing Homelessness
- From High School to Postsecondary: Resources to Support Homeless Students
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.
Your SchoolHouse Connection Team
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- This resource explains the McKinney-Vento Act, summarizes some of its core provisions, and provides related resources.
- School as Shelter: The Stay Over Program’s Innovative Approach to Sheltering Homeless Students
- Wednesday, Oct. 18 · 2 pm Eastern/11 am Pacific
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Homelessness in Higher Ed: Creative Housing Solutions
- Thursday, October 5 · 1-2:15 pm Eastern
- Strategies to Support Smooth Transitions to Higher Education
- Friday, October 20 · 1-2:15 pm Eastern
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
SchoolHouse Connection in The News
Officials fixed Kamari Felton’s financial aid after his story published
Washington Post – September 7, 2023
The challenges facing homeless students
Politico – September 5, 2023
An Overlooked Covid-relief Fund for Schools
FutureEd – July 31, 2023
Schools lost track of homeless kids during the pandemic. Many face a steep path to recovery
AP News – July 28, 2023
Unhoused students have rights. Here’s what you deserve from your school district.
Kansas City Beacon – July 13, 2023