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Recently, SchoolHouse Connection published our 2020 Year-in-Review — a collection of the year’s highlights and top resources — accomplished in collaboration with our many incredible partners and youth scholars, who have helped shape our advocacy and support of children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness during an unprecedented year of challenges. The Year in Review spans federal and state policy accomplishments, notable media moments, youth leadership and voices, and more — as well as the most popular webinars, resources, guest blog posts, newsletters, and research.

Read a message from the SchoolHouse Connection team below, and check out the full Year-in-Review.

As 2020 comes to a close, we pause, and take a breath.

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420,000.

Based on a new report from SchoolHouse Connection and Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, that’s how many fewer children and youth experiencing homelessness have been identified and enrolled by schools so far this school year — despite evidence of increasing homelessness and proactive, tenacious efforts by school district homeless liaisons.

Did you know 32% of high school students experiencing homelessness are Latinx? This means that a Latinx high school student is 1.7 times more likely to be homeless than a white student. As National Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, SchoolHouse Connection believes it’s vital that Latinx students know their educational rights, and how to access help.

To that end, we’re proud to unveil a new dedicated resource page entirely in Spanish — including fact sheets, flyers, and videos to support children and youth experiencing homelessness, from birth through higher education. …

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Navigating homelessness as an individual can trigger an unimaginable level of trauma and challenges that no one should experience; navigating homelessness as a parent brings about its own additional challenges and complexities, all of which have been worsened by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In July, SchoolHouse Connection connected with four mothers from across the country to share their unique parental perspectives.

Read on to hear more about the challenges facing parents and their children who are navigating homelessness during the COVID-19 era; the assistance they have found thus far, and the support they still need, but have not yet received. …

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Earlier this year, public schools and early childhood programs reported the highest number of children and youth experiencing homelessness ever recorded — 1.5 million. This number is skyrocketing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is one home that all youth and children have in common: school.

In the midst of the current crisis, the role of schools has never been more critical — no matter where classrooms are this fall. Schools are required to identify, enroll, and serve homeless children and youth, but distance learning and other COVID-related complications mean it is easier than ever for them to fall through the cracks.

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Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

The following is an excerpt from Charlotte Kinzley, a McKinney-Vento liaison for Minneapolis Public Schools. In this piece, she introduces Minneapolis’ Stable Homes Stable Schools (SHSS) partnership and shares promising outcomes they’ve seen as a result. The full article is up on SchoolHouse Connection’s website HERE.

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) identifies around 2,500 students who are experiencing homelessness every year. Minneapolis sits in Hennepin County, Minnesota, which has a strong homeless response system for families and a high number of emergency shelter beds compared to other counties both locally and nationally. Hennepin County is also one of the very few places in the United States that has a right-to-shelter policy for families, meaning that eligible families with children have a right to shelter. …

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Below is an excerpt from an op-ed written by Barbara Duffield, Executive Director of SchoolHouse Connection, on why policymakers must prioritize children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness in their COVID-19 recovery efforts. For the full piece, visit the Thomas Reuters Foundation News website HERE.

COVID-19 has turned every aspect of our personal and working lives upside down. We’re all familiar with feelings of anxiety, frustration, or fear for our health and the health of loved ones, especially with cases rising at alarming rates.

Now imagine you don’t have a safe, permanent place to call home. You don’t have space to distance and protect yourself and your children from getting infected. Shelters are closed or at-capacity due to social distancing restrictions. You try to sleep, not knowing if you’ll sleep in the same place tomorrow. You don’t know when you’ll eat next, or how you’ll get hygiene supplies — a struggle made harder by school building closures, where at least your children could access food and basic resources, health services, and emotional support. You don’t always have wifi where you stay and are unsure how to get a tablet or computer so your child can participate in distance learning and keep up with their schoolwork — which is alarming since high school completion is the best hope for escaping homelessness as adults. …

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In April, SchoolHouse Connection hosted a webinar featuring three young leaders from our Youth Leadership and Scholarship Program, who are navigating higher education during the coronavirus pandemic. During the webinar, the students shared their experiences, challenges, and advice for other students, higher education professionals, and service providers. This post has been repurposed from our blog post. You can check out the full webinar here.

You have all experienced homelessness in K-12, and were resilient in graduating from high school and deciding to pursue higher education. Why is higher education important to you?

Jose: Well higher education is extremely important. It opens up a lot of opportunities. It means you qualify for the jobs that you want. The jobs that are going to be paying decent salaries. You get to learn about a lot of topics, the schools like the one I attended in high school do not even come close to matching. …

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Pride month may be over, but SchoolHouse Connection recognizes that LGBTQ students need our support all year long, especially those experiencing homelessness.

High school students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning (LGBQ) are 2.94 times more likely to experience homelessness than heterosexual high school students. There is insufficient data to determine the prevalence of homelessness among transgender high school students, although other research indicates similar disproportionality.

Additional research has found that LGBTQ youth also are more likely to be bullied in school and to be victims of both physical and sexual violence than heterosexual youth. …

The following is an excerpt from the “Heroes of the Homeless Crisis” Q&A with Barbara Duffield, Executive Director of SchoolHouse Connection. The Heroes of the Homeless Crisis series highlights leaders working at the frontlines of our national homelessness crisis. Here, Barbara discusses her experience specifically addressing child, youth, and family homelessness and touches on the difficult realities that many homeless youth and families face.

For the full piece, visit Authority Magazine’s Medium article
here.

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Barbara Duffield and The Cookie Monster

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit better. …

About

SchoolHouse in Session

This is hub of expertise and stories to drive solutions around children, youth, and family homelessness. It is a project of SchoolHouse Connection.

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