Federal Advocacy & Policy Updates

A strong voice for effective and responsive federal policy.

Featured Posts:

Urgent Action Needed: Support FY22 Funding for Homeless Children and Youth

U.S. Representatives John Yarmuth (D-KY), Danny Davis (D-IL), and Don Bacon (R-NE) are circulating a bipartisan “Dear Colleague letter” in support of FY2022 funding increases for the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA program). Take action to support FY22 funding for homeless children and youth.

Congress Passes the American Rescue Act Plan: Funding for Homeless Children and Youth Included

On March 10, 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act, H.R. 1319, its most recent package for COVID-19 relief. SchoolHouse Connection is thrilled that one of our top priorities made it into the final legislation: dedicated funding to support the identification, enrollment, and school participation of children and youth experiencing homelessness, including through wrap-around services. The $800 million in funding is more funding than Congress has appropriated for the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness over the last ten years, combined. The funds come from the nearly $123 billion in aid within the bill for K-12 education.

Policy Posts

 

COVID-19 & Homelessness

March 6, 2021 – Senate Passes COVID Bill with $800 Million for Homeless Children and Youth

March 1, 2021 – House Passes COVID-19 Relief Bill: Action Needed to Help Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness

February 6, 2021 – Emergency Help for Homeless Children, Youth, and Families during COVID-19

December 22, 2020 – Final Spending Package Provides Short-Term Help But Much More Must Be Done

October 6, 2020 – House Passes Updated COVID-19 Relief Legislation

August 8, 2020 – Emergency Legislation for Homeless Children, Youth, and Families Introduced

May 19, 2020– Support Homeless Children and Youth in the Next COVID-19 Legislation

May 12, 2020– Support Homeless and Trafficked Children, Youth, and Families in the Next COVID Relief Bill

May 11, 2020 – Joint Statement of Education and Civil Rights Organizations on Equitable Education During COVID-19

April 14, 2020 – Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund and Homeless Students

April 10, 2020 – Emergency Financial Aid Grants through the CARES Act

April 8, 2020 – “Phase Four” Coronavirus Advocacy Priorities for Children, Youth, and Families Experiencing Homelessness

April 6, 2020 – Education Waivers Related to Homelessness and Other COVID-19 Federal Waivers

March 26, 2020 – Third Major Coronavirus Legislation Enacted: Includes New Funding to Support Homeless Children and Youth

March 19, 2020 – Congressional Action on COVID-19 and Homelessness

Federal Funding

March 10, 2021 – Congress Passes the American Rescue Act Plan: Funding for Homeless Children and Youth Included

November 19, 2020 – Senate Releases FY2021 Spending Bills

March 2, 2020 – SHC Submits Public Comment on Proposed Study of Federal Education Funding

February 10, 2020 – President’s FY2021 Budget Threatens Educational Protections for Homeless Children and Youth

December 19, 2019 – Congress Passes Final FY2020 Federal Budget

June 19, 2019 – House Approves Funding Increase for Homeless Children and Youth

April 1, 2019 – 68 U.S. Representatives Sign Bipartisan Letter for EHCY-RHYA Funding; Take Action for FY20 Funding

March 22, 2019 – Action Needed by March 26: Funding for Homeless Children and Youth

February 19, 2019 – FY2019 Federal Funding Bill Signed Into Law

September 27, 2018 – FY2019 Funding Bill Passes, Signed Into Law

September 17, 2018 – House-Senate Agreement Increases FY2019 Funding for Homeless Education, Early Care

June 29, 2018 – Senate Bill Would Increase Funding for the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program

April 9, 2018 – Breaking News: Action Needed by April 13 to Support FY2019 Funding for Homeless Children and Youth

March 23, 2018 – Historic Funding Increases for Homeless Children and Youth in FY18 Bill

March 20, 2018 – Record Number of US Reps sign EHCY/RHYA Funding Letter

March 8, 2018 – Breaking News: Action Needed by March 14th to Support Funding for Homeless Children and Youth

February 12, 2018 – Federal Budget Update: FY2018 and FY2019

February 9, 2018 – Disaster Funding for Homeless Students in Budget Deal

December 22, 2017 – Programs that Provide Targeted Funding for Homeless Children and Youth

December 22, 2017 – Disaster Assistance for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.

December 19, 2017 – House Appropriations bill includes $25 million in McKinney-Vento funding to help homeless children displaced due to disasters

May 24, 2017 – President’s FY2018 Budget Proposal and Homelessness

May 8, 2017 – Funding Wins in Final FY17 Budget, But FY2018 Uncertain

May 1, 2017 – FY2017 Budget Bill Includes Increased Funding for Homeless Programs

March 9, 2017 – Budget Cuts and Homeless Children and Youth

January 25, 2017 – ESSA Regulations on Hold, Congress Debates Budget

K-12 Education

November 14, 2019

  • U.S. Senate Bipartisan Resolution Recognizes November 2019 as “National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month”
    • U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) was joined by eleven other U.S. Senators in sponsoring a bipartisan resolution recognizing November 2019 as “National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month.” It is the first resolution to recognize both child and youth homelessness, from infancy to young adulthood. The resolution includes information about the extent and impact of child and youth homelessness, and supports the efforts of businesses, organizations, educators, and volunteers to meet the needs of homeless children and youth.

August 10, 2018

November 4, 2017

  • Bipartisan Legislation for Education and Employment Introduced
    • On November 3, Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Seth Moulton (D-MA) introduced the “Preparing Homeless Youth for Education and Employment Act,” bipartisan legislation to provide access to dropout prevention and college and career counseling services to homeless youth.

June 23, 2017

March 13, 2017

March 9, 2017

  • Senate Votes to Rescind ESSA Regulations
    • The U.S. Senate voted today to rescind ESSA regulations related to accountability and state plans by a vote of 50-49 . The measure now will move to the President’s desk for signature. This action will not affect the ESSA amendments made to the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program, which are in statute, and are in effect now.

March 8, 2017

February 10, 2017

  • ESSA Regulations Remain in Question, But McKinney-Vento Clarity Emerges
    • The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act went into effect on October 1, 2016, yet the fate of subsequent regulations on state plans and accountability under Title I Part A remains in question. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on February 7 to prevent these regulations from taking effect. A Senate resolution is expected soon.

February 7, 2017

February 7, 2017

  • House Passes Resolution to Prevent Implementation of ESSA Accountability Regulations
    • On February 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution (HR 57) introduced by Congressman Todd Rokita (R-IN) that would prevent recently-issued regulations on state plans and accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) from taking effect. If enacted, this resolution (adopted pursuant to the Congressional Review Act) also would prevent future administrations from promulgating similar rules. It is unclear when a similar resolution will be taken up in the Senate.
Early Care

April 17, 2018

  • Action Needed: Child Care for Families Experiencing Homelessness
    • There is a critical opportunity to increase access to child care through the state planning process. States must submit their Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan for 2019-2021 by June 30, 2018. With a historic $2.37 billion increase in FY2018 CCDF funding – the largest increase in child care funding of all time – it is especially important to find out how you can weigh in to improve child care for families experiencing homelessness.

September 14, 2017

  • The Child Care for Working Families Act (S.1806/H.R. 3773).
    • Summary: The Child Care for Working Families Act is the Democratic proposal on child care and early learning. Under the legislation, no family under 150% of state median income would pay more than seven percent of their income on child care. The bill also supports universal access to preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year old.
    • Current Status: The Child Care for Working Families Act was introduced on September 14, 2017. As of December 2017, it had 29 cosponsors in the U.S. Senate, and 108 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Higher Education

December 21, 2020 – FAFSA Fixes for Homeless and Foster Youth Included in Final Funding Bill

March 13, 2019

December 1, 2017

  •  Fixing the FAFSA for Homeless Youth: Congress Begins HEA Reauthorization with Testimony from a SHC Leader
    • On November 27, the 115th Congress began the reauthorization process for the Higher Education Act (HEA) with a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The HELP Committee hearing featured testimony from Elaine Williams, a SchoolHouse Connection Young Leader and remarkable advocate for homeless youth in Richmond, VA. Learn about the hearing, the current status of HEA reauthorization, and the critical link between education, employment, and homelessness.

September 13, 2017

April 22, 2017

March 7, 2017

Housing/Homeless Assistance

November 10, 2020 – Addressing Child, Youth, and Family Homelessness: Priorities for the Biden-Harris Administration

April 4, 2019

  • Bipartisan Legislation to Help Homeless Children and Youth Reintroduced
    • On April 1, the Homeless Children and Youth Act (H.R. 2001) was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA). This bipartisan legislation corrects long-standing flaws in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) homeless assistance for children, youth, and families. Get the facts about the Homeless Children and Youth Act, including frequently asked questions, the full text of the legislation, and a list of supporters.

July 24, 2018

  • A Big Win: House Committee Passes the Homeless Children and Youth Act
    • On July 24, 2018, the House Financial Services Committee passed the bipartisan Homeless Children and Youth Act, H.R. 1511. The legislation, co-sponsored by Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA), may now be considered by the full House of Representatives. A bipartisan Senate companion bill, S. 611, is led by US Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rob Portman (R-OH).

June 8, 2018

  • House Hearing on Homeless Children and Youth
    • On June 6, the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance held a hearing to review the Homeless Children and Youth Act (H.R. 1511). A key topic of the hearing was how the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of homelessness creates barriers to assisting children, youth, and families who experience homelessness.

October 13, 2017

  • School-Housing Partnership Legislation Introduced
    • On October 12, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced legislation to incentivize housing authorities and school districts to work together to address and prevent family homelessness. The Affordable Housing for Educational Achievement Demonstration (AHEAD) Act (S. 1949) authorizes $150 million for a new demonstration program to be jointly administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

June 6, 2017

  • New Video Adds Urgency to HUD Homeless Assistance Reform
    • A powerful new film from HEAR US premiered on June 6 at a Congressional briefing sponsored by the American Psychological Association, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Center on Housing & Child Welfare, and SchoolHouse Connection. Both the film and the Congressional briefing make a strong case for the Homeless Children and Youth Act (H.R. 1511/S. 611), bipartisan legislation that addresses long-standing flaws in federal homeless policy, and makes it easier for communities to help children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness.

March 27, 2017

March 15, 2017

  • Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Help Homeless Children, Youth, and Families
    • On March 14, the Homeless Children and Youth Act (H.R. 1511/S. 611) was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. This bi-partisan legislation would make it easier for local communities to help children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness, and help put an end to the cycle of homelessness.
Health

October 24, 2018

  • Newly Enacted Opioid Bill Could Help Homeless Children, Youth, and Families
    • On Wednesday, October 24, President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation, H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. This sweeping legislation contains many provisions that could help children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness who are impacted by the opioid crisis, as well as provisions to help all children and youth who experience trauma.

April 30, 2018

  • Bipartisan Opioid Bill Includes Child, Youth, and Family Provisions
    • On Tuesday, April 24, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee unanimously passed S. 2680, the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018. This comprehensive bipartisan bill includes more than 40 proposals from 38 different senators aimed at combating the opioid crisis. Among those proposals are efforts to address the impact of the opioid crisis on children, youth, and families.

Comments

Public Statements/Letters
  • SchoolHouse Connection co-signed a letter along with The National Network for Youth, Family Promise, and First Focus on Children to U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge regarding support for children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness. This letter details actions on how to best support children, youth, and families in her new role. > Read the Letter
  • SchoolHouse Connection recognizes the value of statewide assessments as a tool for parents, communities, schools, and systems of education to gain insights into how well students are being served, including factors that might impact achievement. We are also acutely aware that with many students struggling to access virtual classrooms and stay connected consistently, moving forward with traditional statewide end-of-year assessments could unintentionally punish the approximately 1.5 million students experiencing homelessness (now likely higher due to the economic crisis) across the country. In this short statement, we outline our concerns and provide recommendations for the US Department of Education, and state and local educational agencies. > Read SHC’s Statement
  • SchoolHouse Connection strongly condemns January 6th’s violent insurrection and the white supremacy that underlies it. We are deeply concerned about the health of our democracy and the added layers of trauma for children and youth witnessing these events – especially children and youth of color, who are disproportionately suffering from the toll of the pandemic and economic crisis – many of whom are also missing the safety and stability of their schools during distance learning. The fate of our most marginalized children and youth is the fate of this nation. > Read SHC’s Statement
  • We are sickened, saddened, and angered by the virulent racism in our nation. While this racism has been unveiled in horrific ways in recent days, we know it underlies profound historic and current inequities in education, early care, homelessness, and all aspects of our lives. > Overcoming Homelessness Means Fighting Racism
Public Comments
  • There is nothing ordinary about this Presidential transition. The seismic events of the coronavirus pandemic, the economic crisis, the toxic political divisions, and the long overdue awakening to systemic racism call for new thinking, and bold and decisive action to reflect current realities. This page documents our priorities for the Biden-Harris Administration for the first 100 days and beyond. > Read SHC’s Recommendations
  • On November 9, 2020, we provided comments on the “Proposed Information Collection Activity; Child Care and Development Fund Plan for States/Territories for FFY 2022-24” to the Administration of Children and Families. > Read SHC’s Comments
  • The “Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity” rule implemented by HUD in 2012 recognized and sought to address the discrimination and housing challenges faced by transgender persons. On September 22, 2020, we submitted comments to HUD in opposition of the Trump Administration’s anti-transgender housing rule. > Read SHC’s Comments
  • The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness recently requested input from stakeholders on revising the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. As one of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations on child, youth, and family homelessness, SchoolHouse Connection was invited to participate in the first stakeholder call, and also submitted formal written comments. We will continue to advocate for a strategic plan that confronts the realities of child, youth, and family homelessness, centers racial and ethnic equity, and recognizes the core role of early care and education. > Read SHC’s Comments
  • SchoolHouse Connection (SHC) applauds the Department of Education’s decision to study how school districts and schools are using funding authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We urge the Department to include in its study how school districts and schools are using Title I Part A funds for students experiencing homelessness, as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). > Read SHC’s Comments
  • On September 4, 2020, we submitted our comments to the National Academy of Medicine on the preliminary COVID-19 vaccine allocation framework from the nation academies. We recommend that the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program (EHCY) be utilized as a mechanism to find homeless families and youth, and distribute the vaccine to them. > Read SHC’s Comments

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