Happy New Year! During the holiday rush, we’ve had some important updates you might’ve missed. Here’s a quick recap of what’s been happening at SchoolHouse Connection. As always, please consider us a part of your support team, ready to help you explore ideas, train, and troubleshoot.
Your SchoolHouse Connection Team
1. On December 15, 2023, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part I (AHAR), showing a significant increase in the overall number of families and youth in homeless shelters. These increases are all the more concerning because HUD data represent a very small fraction of the number of children, youth, and families who experience homelessness.
➡️ Our analysis helps make sense of the report and provides three key facts to keep in mind when reviewing the new report and media coverage.
2. Liaison survey final reminder! In November, we distributed our 2023 LEA Homeless Liaison Survey. The 2020 survey played a crucial role in convincing decision-makers to allocate $800 million in dedicated funding to support children and youth experiencing homelessness. We’ll use the information from this survey to educate policymakers, district administrators, school business officials, and others to help you leverage this final year of ARP-HCY funds and better support children and youth experiencing homelessness.
📝 The final deadline to complete the survey is Friday, January 12. If you are a homeless liaison, please take five minutes to help shape ARP-HCY efforts.
3. The highly anticipated 2024-2025 FAFSA opened on Dec. 30, 2023 as a soft launch. There have been reports of pauses and delays to the site due to maintenance issues. Still, the FAFSA contains many changes as a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act, including important new policies for homeless and foster youth.
🖥 Don’t miss our upcoming FAFSA webinar on Tuesday, January 16 at 3:30-4:45 PM Eastern.
4. In December, Erin Patterson, SHC’s Director of Education Initiatives, engaged in a podcast where she discussed her efforts in supporting infants, toddlers, and pregnant or expectant parents. The conversation covered critical statistics and the challenges children face when experiencing homelessness. Erin also highlighted the unprecedented dedicated funding from the American Rescue Plan, aimed at supporting the identification, enrollment, and school participation of children and youth experiencing homelessness.
5. In December, we released our 2023 Year-in-Review where we shared some of the major issues we addressed in 2023 and what we accomplished together in various program area.
6. In 2023, SHC was a strong voice for effective and responsive federal policy. We provided a summary of our key 2023 federal policy activities, and a look ahead at our 2024 federal legislative priorities.