Student Transition - Homeless

Families in Transition
It Can Happen to You…Understanding Homelessness
Division of Student Services
Project Upstart
Homeless Student Education Program
Homeless Awareness Test
The fastest growing segment within the homeless population is homeless
True or False
The majority of homeless adults are unemployed.
True or False
The average age of a homeless person in the United States is twelve.
True or False
Families who live with other families (double-up) may be
considered homeless.
True or False
Who is Homeless?
According to the Stewart B. McKinney Act (1994) a person is
considered homeless who “lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate
nighttime residence;
Shares the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic
hardship, or similar reason
Living in emergency or transitional shelters
Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to
lack of adequate alternative accommodations
Awaiting foster care placement
Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard
housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
McKinney-Vento at a Glance
The McKinney Vento Law ensures the following:
School Stability
Immediate Enrollment
Enrolled During Disputes
Comparable Services
• Homeless students are not to be stigmatized
or separated
The Scale of Homelessness
• Up to two million people will experience
homelessness this year.
• Approximately half of these people will be
children and youth.
• Families are the fastest-growing segment
of the homeless population.
• 4,269 M-DCPS Students were identified
as homeless during the 2009-2010 school
M-DCPS Homeless Education Program
• Project Upstart Homeless Children & Youth Program
seeks to ensure a successful educational experience for
homeless children and youth in South Florida by
collaborating with parents, schools, and community
through opening the doors to academic opportunities,
removing barriers and promoting a healthy sense of self.
Project Upstart Goals
homeless children
and youth fully
realize their legal
rights in accordance
with the McKinneyVento Act
homeless students
will make annual
learning gains
sufficient to acquire
the knowledge,
skills and
needed to master
state standards in
the areas of reading
and math
The negative
impact of
homelessness will
be offset, so that
M-DCPS homeless
students continue
to develop and
Project Upstart ensures the following:
• Immediate
• Documentation
not required
Free Lunch
• Documentation
and signatures
not required
• Immediate
• Provided at
parent request
• Student can stay
at home school
transportation is
Students receive:
Book bags
School Supplies
Academic Enrichment Activities
Parenting Groups
Unaccompanied Youth
Who Are Unaccompanied Children
and Youth in your Community?
At the end of 2008, over 11,000 children fled a foster care placement and were
never found; 25-40% of youth who emancipate from foster care will end up
Many youth have been thrown out of their homes due to their sexual orientation:
20-40% of unaccompanied youth identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender
(compared to 3-5% of adults).
Over half of youth living in shelters report that their parents either told them to
leave, or knew they were leaving and did not care.
Who are unaccompanied youth in your community?
Unaccompanied Youth(cont.)
Some children and youth are in unstable living situations due to parental
incarceration, illness, hospitalization or death.
Some youth become homeless with their families, but end up on their own due to
lack of space in temporary accommodations or shelter policies that prohibit
adolescent boys.
Many unaccompanied children and youth have fled abuse in the home: Studies
have found that 20-40% of unaccompanied youth were sexually abused in their
homes, while 40-60% were physically abused.
Over two-thirds of callers to Runaway Hotline (1-800-RUNAWAY) report that at
least one of their parents abuses drugs or alcohol.
Tragically, 5,000 unaccompanied youth will die each year from assault, illness or
Some children from other countries are sent to live with relatives.
Barriers to Education for
Unaccompanied Youth
• High mobility: 41% will attend at least two different schools; 28%
will attend three or more
• Unaccompanied youth: lack of a parent or guardian to sign forms
• Lack of school records and other paperwork
• Lack of stable housing
• Emotional crisis / mental health issues
• Employment - need to balance school and work
• Lack of transportation
• Lack of school supplies, clothing
• Fatigue, poor health, hunger
• Credit accrual policies, attendance policies
• Concerns about being captured by authorities
• Low expectations by family, school
Must schools ENROLL unaccompanied
children and youth in school …
• Without a parent or guardian?
– Yes!
• Without other enrollment documents, such as school
records, immunizations, proof of residency, etc.?
– Yes!
• The McKinney-Vento Act requires immediate enrollment
of homeless children and youth. Lack of a
parent/guardian and/or enrollment documents cannot
delay or prevent enrollment.
• School districts must eliminate barriers to youth’s
enrollment in school.
Do schools have to contact the police
when enrolling unaccompanied youth?
NO. This would create a barrier to enrollment and retention in
• Schools must enroll youth immediately. School is the
safest and best place for youth.
• Educators are only mandated to report suspected
abuse and/or neglect (homelessness alone generally is
not abuse/neglect), and this reporting can be to child
• If you have reason to suspect kidnapping, you can
immediately see if the student has been reported
missing at or 1-800-THE-LOST.
McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act
My Own Four Walls
(Ben and Chery share a glimpse of their lives on the streets
A compelling look at homelessness from the
eyes of experts—
The kids who live it…
“My Own Four Walls Video”
Short background on how
documentary was made
Diane Nilan was the director of a homeless shelter for years,
watching as the problem of
homelessness grew in the United States. Finally she sold her
town house, moved into an RV, and
began a cross-country trip to raise awareness and sensitivity
to the near “invisible” problem of
homeless families. Along the way, she videotaped children
and young people who courageously
agreed to share their stories about being homeless. With fifty
hours of videotape and a dream to let
children’s voices be heard, she found Dr. Laura Vazquez, a
communication professor at Northern
Illinois University. Together they created My Own Four Walls.
Was there anything that really struck you
Was there anything here new to you?
Few people know that they have the power
to bless life. We bless the life in each other
far more than we realize. Many simple,
ordinary things that we do can affect those
around us in profound ways.
Rachel Naomi Remen
Contact Information
Laura Chiarello, Project Manager,
Homeless Education Program
Division of Student Services
If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will
have succeeded
Maya Angelou