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Families in Transition It Can Happen to You…Understanding Homelessness Division of Student Services Project Upstart Homeless Student Education Program.

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Presentation on theme: "Families in Transition It Can Happen to You…Understanding Homelessness Division of Student Services Project Upstart Homeless Student Education Program."— Presentation transcript:

1 Families in Transition It Can Happen to You…Understanding Homelessness Division of Student Services Project Upstart Homeless Student Education Program

2 Homeless Awareness Test The fastest growing segment within the homeless population is homeless men. 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

3 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

4 4/13/20154 McKinney-Vento at a Glance The McKinney Vento Law ensures the following: School Stability Transportation Immediate Enrollment Enrolled During Disputes Comparable Services Homeless students are not to be stigmatized or separated

5 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 school year

6 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.

7 Project Upstart Goals All M-DCPS homeless children and youth fully realize their legal rights in accordance with the McKinney- Vento Act All M-DCPS homeless students will make annual learning gains sufficient to acquire the knowledge, skills and competencies 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 thrive.

8 Project Upstart ensures the following: Immediate Documentation not required Enrollment Documentation and signatures not required Immediate Free Lunch Provided at parent request Student can stay at home school and transportation is provided Transportation

9 Additionally: Students receive: Book bags School Supplies Uniforms Tutoring Academic Enrichment Activities Counseling Parenting Groups

10 4/13/ Unaccompanied Youth

11 4/13/ 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 homeless. 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?

12 4/13/ 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 suicide Some children from other countries are sent to live with relatives.

13 4/13/ 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

14 4/13/ 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.

15 4/13/2015McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act15 Do schools have to contact the police when enrolling unaccompanied youth? NO. This would create a barrier to enrollment and retention in school! 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 welfare If you have reason to suspect kidnapping, you can immediately see if the student has been reported missing at or THE-LOST.

16 My Own Four Walls LIFE FILLED WITH BENCHES (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…

17 “My Own Four Walls Video”

18 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.

19 Was there anything that really struck you

20 Was there anything here new to you?

21 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

22 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

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