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"The Other McKinney-Vento Act”

"The Other McKinney-Vento Act”

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"The Other McKinney-Vento Act”

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  1. "The Other McKinney-Vento Act” • Presented by Jeremy Rosen, Executive Director, National Policy and Advocacy Council on Homelessness. • (202) 714-5378 • jrosen@npach.org • www.npach.org

  2. "The Other McKinney-Vento Act” • Key messages: HUD McKinney-Vento Act • Law hasn’t been rewritten by Congress since 1994. • In many communities, school liaisons have had difficulty gaining access to local planning process (Continuum of Care). • The major issue is the disconnect between HUD’s definition of homelessness and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) definition. • But several other provisions are important.

  3. HUD McKinney-Vento Act • Key policy and legislative issues • Definition of homelessness. • Participation of education liaisons in local planning processes. • Ensuring that local homeless service providers better protect the educational rights of homeless children and youth.

  4. HUD McKinney-Vento Act (2) • Legislation in both House and Senate • NAEHCY, NPACH, First Focus led a broad coalition of children’s, education, housing, and homelessness organizations in support of policy changes in these areas. • Legislation passed in the House (HR 7221 – “HEARTH Act”) and is pending in the Senate (S. 1518). • Senate may approve legislation in November. • If not, Congress will start from scratch in 2009. • Our grade for Congress? Not high!

  5. HUD Definition of Homelessness • Who is covered? • Current law covers people living on the streets, in emergency shelters, or in transitional housing. • Current administrative practice covers people who will lose their housing within 7 days. • Who is excluded? • People living doubled up or in motels. • People in trailer parks and other situations covered by ED.

  6. HUD Definition of Homelessness (2) • Our goal: • Better align HUD and ED definitions so that HUD definition would cover people living in doubled up or motel situations as homeless, thereby making them eligible for HUD homeless assistance – shelter, transitional housing, supportive services, and in some cases permanent housing. • Our rationales: • Better program coordination, reflects reality (these families are homeless), these kids and their parents need help.

  7. HUD Definition of Homelessness (3) • Who is impacted and how? • Nearly 600,000 children and youth are covered by ED but not by HUD (over 60% of homeless students). • Not being covered means: • Inaccurate counts of homeless persons. • Children, youth, and families not included in planning to end homelessness. • Lack of priority for or access to programs like Section 8 housing or childcare. • Denials of access to McKinney-Vento education services – school officials cite HUD definition to argue that doubled up or motel dwelling children / youth are not “really homeless.”

  8. HUD Definition of Homelessness (4) • Lengthy debate. • Split in homelessness advocacy community. • Opposition arguments: • Will take away $$$ from people already homeless. • Besides, these families and kids are really at risk of homelessness, not homeless. • Our outcome? Don’t shoot the messenger!

  9. HUD Definition of Homelessness (5) • New definition proposal: • Continues to cover people living on the street, in emergency shelter, or in transitional housing. • Clarifies that people who are homeless and temporarily enter an institution are homeless again upon discharge without a place to live. • Covers people who will lose their living arrangement within 14 days, including people living in their own housing, people living doubled up, and people who, at their own expense, move into motels or hotels.

  10. HUD Definition of Homelessness (6) • New definition proposal (cont.) • Covers unaccompanied youth and families with children defined as homeless under broader federal laws (such as the McKinney-Vento education statute), provided that they haven’t lived in permanent housing for a long time, have made frequent moves, and are likely to keep moving around for a long time, but limits funding for this population to 10% of funding. 10% limit does not apply in communities where the rate of homelessness is less than one tenth of 1% of the total population. • Covers people fleeing domestic violence or any other dangerous or life threatening conditions, including where health and safety of children are jeopardized.

  11. HUD Definition of Homelessness (6) • Why don’t we like the new proposal? • Imposes major conditions on whether or not 600,000 children considered homeless by ED will be considered homeless by HUD. • Families must have been out of permanent housing for a long time. • Only includes families who have moved frequently. • Families must be likely to continue moving often. • Limits funding to this population to 10% of local funds, in 80% of localities (20% of localities with low rates of homelessness would not be limited).

  12. Participation of Homeless Liaisons in Local Planning • Why is this issue important? • Having a liaison or her designee serve as part of the Continuum of Care is the best way to ensure that the needs of homeless students are taken into consideration by the CoC. • What does the legislation say? • Participation is not required for liaisons, their designees, or anyone else. • Alternate approach was taken.

  13. Participation of Homeless Liaisons in Local Planning (2) • What approach was taken? • Selection criteria require broad participation from a number of stakeholders; education liaisons are among the listed groups. • Competition for funding is fierce each year, so communities are unlikely to risk losing points by not including a wide range of stakeholders. • However, language is broad enough that a community could get full points by getting broad participation but still leaving out an education liaison.

  14. Protecting the Rights of Homeless Children and Youth • Several key proposals of ours are included in the legislation. • These provisions will help ensure that children and youth who ARE defined as homeless by HUD will have their educational rights protected.

  15. Protecting the Rights of Homeless Children and Youth (2) • Starting two years after the bill passes, providers of emergency shelter, transitional housing, and permanent housing would be prohibited from denying admission to any family based on the age of any child under 18. This is designed to prevent involuntary family separation in order to receive emergency shelter or longer term housing. • All project sponsors must certify that they will establish policies consistent with the exercise of educational rights for children, youth, and families – under the Education title of McKinney-Vento and other federal laws. • All programs serving homeless families must designate a staff person to ensure that children in the program are enrolled in school and connected to other community services such as Head Start and IDEA.

  16. Protecting the Rights of Homeless Children and Youth (3) • When making placements in emergency shelter or transitional housing, Collaborative Applicants must agree to place homeless families, to the maximum extent practicable, as close as possible to their children’s school of origin, so as not to disrupt their education. • Continuum of Care plans must describe how the recipient will collaborate with local education agencies to assist in the identification of families, and how families and youth will be informed of their eligibility for McKinney-Vento education services.

  17. What Can You Do? • Talk to NAEHCY Policy Director Barbara Duffield. • Get involved by helping to educate your Members of Congress. • Become part of your local Continuum of Care. • Take NAEHCY’s online survey on foreclosure and homelessness. • Email me to join NPACH’s email list.