McKinney-VentoHomeless Assistance Act • Reauthorized in 2002 as part of the NCLB Act • Main themes: • School stability • School access • Support for academic success • Child-centered, best interest decision making
Eligibility: Who is Covered? • Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence… • Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations • Living in emergency or transitional shelters • Abandoned in hospitals • Awaiting foster care placement • Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live • Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, etc. • Migratory children living in above circumstances • And…unaccompanied youth • Youth who meet(s) the definition of homeless and is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian
Homeless Liaison: Duties • Every LEA must designate a liaison for students in homeless situations. Liaisons have the following responsibilities: • Ensure that children and youth in homeless situations are identified • Ensure that homeless students enroll in and have full and equal opportunity to succeed in school • Link with educational services, including preschool and health services and provide referrals to referrals to health care, dental, mental health and other appropriate services; • Inform parents, guardians, and/or youth of transportation services, including to the school of origin • Inform parents, guardians, and/or youth of educational and parent involvement opportunities • Post public notice of educational rights • Resolve disputes
Identification Strategies • Provide awareness activities for school staff • Registrars, secretaries, counselors, social workers, nurses, teachers, bus drivers, administrators, etc. • Provide outreach materials and posters where there is a frequent influx of low-income families and youth in high-risk situations • Motels, laundry mats, grocery stores, campgrounds, and other places where families “hang out” • Coordinate with community service agencies • Shelters, soup kitchens, drop-in centers, social service (including DSHS) and housing agencies, and public health departments
Identification Strategies • Providers can offer training to school district and school building staff on… • Indicators of homelessness • Communication tips for district staff • Landscape of community services • What else?
School Stability: Key Provisions • Children and youth experiencing homelessness can stay in their school of origin or enroll in any public school that students living in the same attendance area are eligible to attend, according to their best interest • School of origin • School attended when permanently housed or in which last enrolled • Best interest • Keep homeless students in their schools of origin, to the extent feasible, unless this is against the parents’, guardians’, or youth’s wishes
School Access: Enrollment • Children and youth experiencing homelessness can stay in their school of origin (to the extent feasible) or enroll in any public school that students living in the same attendance area are eligible to attend • The terms “enroll” and “enrollment” include attending classes and participating fully in school activities • Children and youth have the right to enroll in school immediately, even if they do not have required documents, such a school records, medical records, proof of residency, or other documents • If a student does not have immunizations, or immunization or medical records, the liaison must immediately assist in obtaining them, and the student must be enrolled in the interim • Providers can play an important role in helping a family or unaccompanied youth obtain records!
School Access: Transportation • LEAs must provide students experiencing homelessness with transportation to and from their school of origin, at a parent’s or guardian’s request (or at the liaisons request for unaccompanied youth) • If the student’s temporary residence and the school of origin are in the same LEA, that LEA must provide or arrange transportation • If the student is living outside of the school of origin’s LEA, the LEA where the student is living and the school of origin’s LEA must determine how to divide the responsibility and share the cost, or they must share the cost equally
Why Collaborate? • Meet the needs of entire families – adults and children. • Stably housed kids are healthier and perform better in school. • Housing for the family alleviates stress and lets parents focus on employment / education and on just being parents.
Collaboration Saves $$$ • Nobody’s budget is getting any bigger! • Housing <$$$ Emergency shelter • Housing near school where families want to be = reduced school transportation costs • In some cases, this makes up for the cost of transportation • Trick is for different systems to value this (e.g. PHA gets kudos for saving $ for schools) • New NLCHP paper – on website
HEARTH Act: New HUD Assurances Related to Education • The Continuum of Care applicant will be required to demonstrate that it is collaborating with LEAs to assist in the identification of homeless families as well as informing these homeless families and youth of their eligibility for McKinney-Vento education services.
HEARTH Act: New HUD Assurances Related to Education • Develop Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between the Continuum of Care and area school districts on protocols for identification and enrollment, including procedures for information-sharing. • Share education information as part of intake and exit. • Conduct joint trainings and visits. • Form a child/youth subcommittee
HEARTH Act: New HUD Assurances Related to Education 2. Continuum of Care applicant will be required to demonstrate that it is considering the educational needs of children when families are placed in emergency or transitional shelter and is, to the maximum extent practicable, placing families with children as close to possible to their school of origin so as not to disrupt their children’s education
HEARTH Act: New HUD Assurances Related to Education • Work with school districts to create a map that matches school addresses with shelter and transitional housing addresses, to assist in placing families and youth as close as possible to their schools • Include school stability as a standard criterion in assessing the appropriate shelter or transitional housing programs for families or youth. • Ask families for the names of the schools that their children are attending as part of intake processes.
HEARTH Act: New HUD Assurances Related to Education • Project applicants must demonstrate that their programs are establishing policies and practices that are consistent with, and do not restrict the exercise of rights provided by the education subtitle of the McKinney-Vento Act, and other laws relating to the provision of educational rights and related services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness
HEARTH Act: New HUD Assurances Related to Education • Review and revise shelter policies to ensure children and youth are fully supported in exercising their education rights, including the right to remain at their school of origin. • Help unaccompanied homeless youth to access higher education opportunities, including by verifying their status for the FAFSA.
HEARTH Act: New HUD Assurances Related to Education • Project applicants must demonstrate that programs that provide housing or services to families are designating a staff person to ensure that children are enrolled in school and connected to the appropriate services within the community, including early childhood programs such as Head Start, Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, and McKinney-Vento education services.
HEARTH Act: New HUD Assurances Related to Education • Consider who is the most appropriate staff person to be the “education and early care” coordinator. • Convene a meeting of the newly designated HUD education/early care contacts, local school district liaisons, Head Start staff, and preschool staff. • Assist in providing transportation to Head Start and other preschool programs and arranging after-hour child care.
HEARTH Act: HPRP/ESG • HPRP is ARRA / Recovery Act / “Stimulus” funding • Will be gone after 2011 • But HEARTH Act transformed current HUD ESG, or “Emergency Shelter Grant” into new ESG, or “Emergency Solutions Grant” • Key distinction is that old program had very limited allowable use for prevention; most $$$ went to emergency shelter. New program will get higher % of McKinney-Vento $$$ (20%), allowing MOE for shelter and expanded prevention use
WA Collaborations: Front Door Project • Partnership between Sumner School District and Sumner/Bonney Lake Area Communities for Families Coalition (CFF) & Sumner/Bonney Lake Family Support Center • Scattered site transitional housing & case management for 30 families when program started in 2006 (now 13 families) • Screens potential applicants from two targeted school areas (now serving Daffodil Valley Elementary catchment area) • Measures impact on housing stability & life outcomes, including students’ academic performance • Provides transition costs, rental assistance, supportive services, and case management
WA Collaborations: Front Door Project • Positive Improvements (May 2010) • Adults • 50% parents attended school or Washington Women’s Employment & Education • 30% obtained jobs • Increase in accessing support services • Children & Youth • School related improvements by 3rd quarter • 15-20% better attendance • Modest improvement in grades
WA Collaborations: THA/McCarver Elementary School • High levels of student mobility • Last school year, 120% of McCarver’s students changed • In 2007-08, the school’s student population turned over 121%; the previous year the turnover rate was 170%! • High turnover = hard for student who moves so much; hard for other students in classroom; hard for the teacher (coming & going of students)
WA Collaborations: THA/McCarver Elementary School • THA proposes to give a housing voucher to up to 50 families who will have a child enrolled at McCarver Elementary School. • Vouchers help families pay rent so that, in general, the housing does not cost more than 40% of household income. • On average, a voucher is worth over $500 per month for a low-income family • In order to receive a voucher, families must: • Keep their child enrolled in McCarver; • Be very involved with McCarver and their child’s education; • Work on their own job and financial growth; • Work with THA staff to accomplish these goals; & • Share data on their child’s progress in school
WA Collaborations: Spokane HEART Program • A collaboration between Spokane Public Schools and several local service providers • Falls under the Title I umbrella • Program Goals: • To support and meet the unique needs of our students in transitional situations • To maintain consistency of the educational process while living in transitional housing • To provide the same educational opportunities for students in temporary and transitional housing as housed students • To engage parents, the community, and the school as full partners in the educational process of homeless children and youth • To provide a connection between school and home
WA Collaborations: Spokane HEART Program Program Description: • Locate and enroll students in the program • Arrange transportation for students to their school of origin • Communicate with area schools about homeless students there • Act as liaison between school, shelter, parents, and students • Accumulate statistics about the mobility of homeless students • Visit school sites to observe and help students • Network with other community agencies and programs • Attend local shelter clearinghouse meetings on a monthly basis to learn about shelter system developments • Participate in area workshops and conferences on homelessness
Other Good Collaborations: Minneapolis, MN • MPS staff members identify children whose families are living in unstable or inadequate housing in neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty. • Using Section 8 subsidies from the MPHA, families are provided housing and assistance, enabling them to access better-quality affordable housing in more stable neighborhoods within their children's elementary school attendance areas. • CPED contributes funds to help with security deposits and gives grants to landlords to improve their properties in exchange for renting to these families. • LSS provides support services, family service coordination, and landlord recruitment to help achieve housing stability as well as a liaison whom the landlords can contact if they have any problems with the tenants. This provides an opportunity to intervene early, thereby preventing evictions.
Other Good Collaborations: Victoria, TX • KidzConnection, the district’s McKinney-Vento program, hosts local homeless coalition meetings, community meetings, an after-school homework center staffed with teachers and teachers’ aides, and a clothes closet. • Residents can seek help with issues such as Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, mental health interventions, and utility company meetings. • Staff members also do a lot of pre-eviction work with families referred by the housing authority. • There is an established group of assistance providers including churches, community groups, and foundations that help meet financial and other needs to keep families stable.
Other Good Collaborations: Mesa County, CO • 527 school children from 256 local families were identified as homeless during the 2004-2005 school year—these numbers have since grown • Grand Junction HA Voucher Program had around 1,200 households on its waitlist: a large percentage of homeless families had enough income to support a home but not enough to cover the initial move-in costs • The GJHA, MCSD, Mesa County Department of Human Services (DHS), and Mesa County Workforce Center (MCWC) collaborated to create the Next Step Housing Program. Provides a safe, affordable living environment for two years for fifty formerly homeless families who are at or below 30% of the AMFI. • Focus areas include providing comprehensive case-management services and school-based assistance; improving children’s attendance, academic performance, and graduation rates; and empowering participants financially • Partnering with a variety of agencies has offered families and children access to a broader array of services
Resources • National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth:www.naehcy.org • National Center for Homeless Education: www.center.serve.org/nche • SchoolHouseWA: www.schoolhousewa.org
Contact Information Rachel Natelson, Staff Attorney (202) 638-2535 x211 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nlchp.org Erin Shea McCann, Staff Attorney (206) 287-8613 email@example.com www.columbialegal.org