Newsletter (January 11, 2024)

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This week, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the 2024-2025 FAFSA is now fully available to students and parents, after a “soft launch” of limited availability earlier this month.

This new FAFSA includes many changes, including the important provisions for homeless and foster youth. However, the delay from the usual October 1st release shortens the amount of time students have to complete the FAFSA and to make an informed decision about choosing a postsecondary institution. This makes it even more important for educators, service providers, child welfare personnel, and advocates to understand the new FAFSA and how to help youth experiencing homelessness and youth with experience in foster care to complete it.

💻 Join a Webinar Next Week on the New FAFSA

Title: The 2024-2025 FAFSA: Helping Homeless and Foster Youth 
Date: Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Time: 3:30 – 4:45 PM Eastern 

The 2024-2025 FAFSA is here! This FAFSA contains many changes as a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act, including important new policies for homeless and foster youth. Webinar participants will learn how to help homeless and foster youth fill out the new 2024-2025 FAFSA; get tips for working with financial aid offices to support homeless and foster youth; and find out about how ARP-HCY funds can be used to support postsecondary access and transition. There will be ample time for questions and answers. 


💻 Upcoming SchoolHouse Connection Webinars

Title: Partnering with School Business Officers and Homeless Liaisons on ARP-HCY Funds
Date: Thursday, January 25, 2024
Time: 3:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern 

School business/finance officers and school district homeless liaisons are critical partners for ensuring the effective use of funds to meet the needs of children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness. This is particularly true when it comes to spending American Rescue Plan – Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) funding because ARP-HCY funds can be used in new, unusual, and flexible ways. Yet misconceptions about what is allowable, or how to ensure appropriate use and/or track appropriate use, may be preventing ARP-HCY funds from being deployed to meet urgent needs.

In this webinar, get tips for how school business officers and school district homeless liaisons can work together to spend ARP-HCY funds and how to address common concerns. Presenters also will share how ARP-HCY funds have been used flexibly with appropriate controls in place.


Title: Evicting Children: How Babies Bear the Brunt of the Nation’s Housing Crisis and What We Can Do About It
Date: Tuesday, January 30, 2024
Time: 3:00 – 4:15 PM Eastern 

In October 2023, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study revealing that the Americans who are the most at risk of eviction are babies and toddlers, and that children under the age of 5 make up the largest group by age of people whose households have had an eviction action filed against them. The risk of eviction for all children under the age of 18 is consistently high.

These findings are consistent with data showing that the person who is the most likely to stay in a homeless shelter in the U.S. is an infant under the age of one.

Despite the disproportionate risks of homelessness faced by infants, toddlers, and school-age children, and the harmful impact of homelessness on their health, development, and future learning, these children are invisible to the public, policymakers, housing/homelessness system, and, all too often, even to the early childhood programs, and public schools that could mitigate the impact of homelessness on child development and connect families to housing and services.

This webinar will review the study’s findings and examine its implications for policies and practices to stabilize children, youth, and families. In addition, we’ll learn from practitioners about efforts to prevent evictions among families and respond to the needs of all family members when evictions do occur. Finally, we’ll look at policy reforms that can prevent and mitigate harm.


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