SchoolHouse Connection Policy Fellows

The SchoolHouse Connection Policy Fellows program connects and mobilizes a network of affiliates, located across a variety of states, who learn how to advocate on the behalf of and educate policymakers on the issue of child, youth, and family homelessness, are responsive to calls to action around legislative advocacy at the federal and state levels, and train others to become advocates for the issue.

2022 Policy Fellows Advocacy Priorities:

  • Flexible Funding to Support Homeless Children and Youth
  • Removing Barriers to Higher Education for Homeless and Foster Youth
  • The Homeless Children and Youth Act

The Work of Our Fellows

The 2022-2023 cohort includes fellows from eight congressional districts in California, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. The cohort consists of youth leaders and professionals who provide services that address youth homelessness, including public school homeless liaisons, social workers, and community advocates.

The cohort has completed legislative visits with the office of their respective congressional representatives. Policy Fellows used the visits to advocate for their member of Congress’ support, or co-sponsorship of the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act (HEASHFY), H.R. 6666, and the Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA), H.R. 6287, as well as to advocate for an $800 million funding allocation for the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program, which would help sustain critical funding provided by a bipartisan amendment to the American Rescue Plan Act.

Meet the Policy Fellows


  • Denise Riemer, LICSW-PIP, Homeless & Foster Care Liaison/Mental Health Coordinator
    Renata Hollins, McKinney-Vento Liaison
    Courtney Riles, Community engagement Coordinator one roof


  • Donna Smith, County Office of Education Coordinator


  • Tekoah Boatner, Executive Director, Youth Oasis
  • Robin Parker-Brooks, InspireNola District, McKinney-Vento Coordinator


  • Aseret Hesse, PhD Student


    • Dawn Jakubowski, State Policy Liaison Homeless Youth
    • Lisa Cruden, Vice President of Programs
    • Catherine (Katie) Kubesh, McKinney-Vento Regional Grant Coordinator & District Liaison
    • Holly Carpenter, Grant Coordinator


    • Megan Reese, McKinney-Vento Liaison


    • Kirstin Doveri, McKinney-Vento Liaison
    • Woody Crobar, McKinney-Vento Liaison
    • Andrea Shaver, McKinney-Vento Liaison

    Hear from some 2022-2023 cohort members:

    “The SchoolHouse Connection policy fellowship has been instrumental as I delve into the world of policy advocacy for the first time on behalf of a specific group of people (youth experiencing homelessness; youth impacted by foster care). The tangible resources, well-informed guidance and readily accessible support have created a wonderful learning community to gain confidence and skills in order to push for positive change in the lives of youth my organization serves.” – Mobile B.

    “I am thrilled to be part of the SchoolHouse Connection policy fellows. My career has always included advocacy as an integral piece in helping others and making change. The work with homeless students, youth and families that I do in the communities I serve is increasing in numbers and importance. My advocacy for funding for educational supports, family housing, and basic needs to this growing issue is needed more than ever.” – Michelle A.

    “It has been very meaningful to learn how to advocate for policy that would have a direct impact on youth who have experienced homelessness like myself. This program has taught me many new skills and I am looking forward to learning how to effectively share these skills with my community in order to expand the impact of our advocacy.” – Cece E.

    “Being able to educate those with the ability to make changes for students in transition to address the challenges they face trying to obtain an education is so important. I’ve enjoyed being part of this process, stepping outside my comfort zone and meeting others with the same passion and goals.” – Michelle M.

    “I am thankful for the opportunity to be a voice for the young people who need to be heard! It has been a great learning experience working with Alleanne and Rodd. My hope is to continue advocating for homeless youth with the knowledge I have gained from this fellowship.” – Danica M.

    “My time as a fellow with SchoolHouse Connection has been an amazing learning experience. They have provided us with amazing opportunities for us to grow and connect with individuals that are like-minded and passionate about ending youth homelessness.” – Ajanae R.

    “My position as a district homeless liaison has become a passion for me. The number of students we have been able to impact in a positive and successful way has far outreached my early expectations. What an inspiration to have this opportunity to work with students who may not have had the chance to be successful academically and plan for their future. Serving these students is my honor!” – Sabra E.

    Archived SHC Policy Fellows Webinars

    These webinars are part of a series hosted by SchoolHouse Connection and its Policy Fellows for residents of targeted states who want to learn more about youth homelessness issues and convenient ways they can advocate for effective policy change, and get others in their community to do the same.

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Oklahoma
    Date Recorded: December 21, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Indiana
    Date Recorded: November 30, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Michigan
    Date Recorded: November 18, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in California
    Date Recorded: November 10, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in North Carolina
    Date Recorded: November 9, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Massachusetts
    Date Recorded: October 20, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Missouri
    Date Recorded: October 14, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Connecticut
    Date Recorded: August 18, 2022

    Watch the Recording

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