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Darla Bardine, Executive Director, National Network for Youth Barbara Duffield, Director of Policy and Programs, NAEHCY 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Darla Bardine, Executive Director, National Network for Youth Barbara Duffield, Director of Policy and Programs, NAEHCY 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Darla Bardine, Executive Director, National Network for Youth Barbara Duffield, Director of Policy and Programs, NAEHCY 1

2 Our Topics Today The Federal Budget GAO Report on Homeless Education Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization (including McKinney-Vento) Universal preschool legislation Higher Education Act reauthorization Child Care Development Block Grant Runaway and Homeless Youth Act Homeless Children and Youth Act 2

3 Federal Budget/FY2015 Appropriations McKinney-Vento homeless education funded at $65 million in FY2014 (sequestration mostly restored) Runaway and Homeless Youth Act funded at $115 million Congress once again failed to complete action on FY2015 budget before end of fiscal year Continuing resolution passed last week to fund government until December 11 (after the election) 3

4 Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 New Title I and Homelessness Funds available under sections 1124, 1124A, 1125 and 1125A of the ESEA may be used to provide homeless children and youths with services not ordinarily provided to other students under those sections, including supporting the liaison designated pursuant to section 722(g)( l )(J)(ii) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and providing transportation pursuant to section 722(g)( 1 )(J)(iii) of such Act. 4

5 Federal Guidance Issued July 2014 Title I Part A, including funds reserved under section 1113(a)(3), may: Be used in full to support the position of the liaison Be used to provide transportation to the school of origin LEAs must continue to provide comparable services; using Title I for the liaison and school of origin transportation do not satisfy the comparable services requirement 5

6 Government Accountability Office Report on Homeless Education Published August Examined: (1) how districts identify and serve homeless students and challenges they face (2) how USDE (ED) and states collaborate with other service providers to address student needs and any barriers (3) the extent to which USDE (ED) monitors program compliance 6

7 GAO Report: Barriers and Challenges Under-identification of homeless children Limited staff and resources to provide services Cost of transportation Student stigma associated with homelessness Responding to students made homeless by natural disasters Different definitions of homelessness pose barriers to interagency collaboration 7

8 GAO Report : Federal Findings and Recommendation ED has no plan to ensure adequate oversight of all states Lacks assurance that states are complying with program requirements Other priorities and a lack of staff capacity as reasons for decrease in oversight Recommendation: develop a plan to ensure adequate oversight of the EHCY program 8

9 McKinney-Vento, Title I, and Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization Congress has been working on this legislation since 2007, but partisan differences and other Congressional priorities have prevented it from moving forward Major action in 2007, 2011, and 2013… Nothing at all in ? Depends on the priorities of the new Congress 9

10 Major Issues in ESEA Reauthorization McKinney-Vento Personnel: State Coordinators and Local Liaisons School Stability Provisions (“Feasibility”) Enrollment Transportation Disputes Credits/Academic Support Extra-curricular activities Unaccompanied Youth Preschool Children Funding Level Title I, Part A Setasides Children and Youth in Foster Care 10

11 Strong Start for America’s Children Act: S and H.R New federal-state partnership to increase access to high quality prekindergarten programs for low and moderate income children A phased-in federal-state match with formula grants to states based on the state population of low-income 4- year-olds Eligible states must offer state-funded preK, have early learning standards, and be able to link preK data to K-12 data McKinney-Vento-esque requirements for local applications: outreach, identify, enroll, stabilize, transport homeless children 11

12 Higher Education Act Reauthorization S. 1754, the Higher Education Access and Success Act for Homeless and Foster Youth Most of this legislation included in Senate Committee Proposal passed on June 25, 2015  Clarifies that unaccompanied homeless youth under age 24 are considered independent students;  Expands the entities authorized to make determinations of unaccompanied homeless youth  Requires financial aid administrators to make determinations of unaccompanied homeless youth status for youth who cannot get determinations from other authorities 12

13 HEA Bill for Homeless/Foster, 2  Eliminates the requirement for unaccompanied homeless youths’ status to be re-determined every year.  Students will continue to be independent unless the student’s circumstances have changed, or the financial aid administrator has conflicting information; and  Requires the Student Loan Ombudsman to receive, review and expeditiously resolve complaints regarding the independent student status of homeless and foster youth  Provides homeless and foster youth in-state tuition to reduce barriers to college attendance due to lack of financial support 13

14 HEA Bill for Homeless/Foster, 3 Designates a single point of contact to assist homeless and foster youth to access and complete higher education; Requires IHEs to:  Post public notice about financial and other assistance available to homeless and foster youth;  Develop a plan to assist homeless and foster youth to access housing resources during and between academic terms; and  Include in applications questions about homeless or foster status, that youth can answer voluntarily to receive assistance accessing financial aid and other resources. 14

15 The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, S Bipartisan, bi-cameral agreement Passed the House on September 16 Held hostage in Senate last week Movement in Lame Duck session possible 15

16 The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, S Require States to: Establish a grace period for homeless children while families comply with immunization and other health and safety requirements Use funds for:  Procedures to permit enrollment of children experiencing homelessness while required documentation is obtained;  Training and technical assistance on identifying and serving homeless children and their families;  Specific outreach to homeless families 16

17 The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, S Require States to: Coordinate services with early childhood programs serving children experiencing homelessness Establish a sliding fee scale that is not a barrier to families receiving federal childcare assistance. The legislation also requires that families who initially qualify for childcare receive childcare services for at least a year, regardless of changes in income or work, training, or education status. 17

18 The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, S Runaway and Homeless Youth Act provides: Street Outreach: relationship building, prevention, counseling, referrals for housing and services. Basic Center: 21 day youth-appropriate emergency shelter for homeless minors with intensive family reunification when appropriate Transitional Living: longer-term housing with youth- appropriate services for homeless year olds with a focus on health, education and employment National Hotline: RUNAWAY National Training & Technical Assistance Center 18

19 The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, S Makes updates to Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs: Includes new provisions to combat trafficking and discrimination Increases the length of stays in Basic Centers from 21 to 30 days. Requires RHYA grantees to assist youth with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Passed out of Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 18 Action Step: Contact Your Senators: ask them to join S as a cosponsor 19

20 The Homeless Children and Youth Act: Why We Need It HUD’s definition of homelessness excludes families and youth staying temporarily with others because they have no place else to go, or in motels (if the family uses their own income); as a result, they can’t get HUD homeless services HUD forces communities to prioritize programs for chronically homeless adults at the expense of families and youth HUD’s count of homelessness doesn’t include most homeless families and youth 20

21 The Homeless Children and Youth Act: H.R and S What it does: Eliminates complex requirements for motel and doubled-up families and youth to be eligible for HUD homeless assistance; streamlines referrals; improves collaboration How it does it: Amends HUD’s definition of homelessness to include children and youth verified as homeless by school liaisons, RHYA programs, Head Start, Health Care for the Homeless programs, etc. 21

22 The Homeless Children and Youth Act: H.R and S What it does: A llows communities to meet the needs that they identify – including families and youth How it does it: Prohibits HUD from prioritizing one group over another when awarding grants if it doesn’t meet a community’s needs assessment. Currently, HUD forces prioritization of chronically homeless, even if that is not the community’s greatest need. 22

23 The Homeless Children and Youth Act: H.R and S What it does: Shows a truer, more comprehensive view of homelessness to Congress and the public How it does it: Requiring data from all federal homeless programs to be part of HUD’s Report to Congress; and requiring HUD data and funding patterns to be made public on HUD’s website 23

24 The Homeless Children and Youth Act: H.R and S ACTION NEEDED: 1. Urge your US Representative and US Senators to become co-sponsors of HCYA: 2. Add state and local organizations to the HCYA endorsers list: 3. Spread the word 24

25 Why Get Involved in Policy Advocacy? Good policies are informed policies No one else knows what you know - no one else is likely to take up these issues Children and youth experiencing homelessness are invisible to the public and to policymakers As a constituent, you have the most power to effect change

26 Advocacy v. Lobbying Lobbying: activities that ask legislators to take a specific position on a specific piece of legislation, or urge others to do the same (IRS definition for non- profits) Advocacy: any activity that a person or organization undertakes to influence policy - includes educating, providing information, arguing a cause

27 What if I Can’t Lobby? Check to be sure that you cant; be mindful of the narrow, specific definition of lobbying Find others to “make the pitch” for you, but stay engaged in general advocacy activities Act as a private individual - you don’t lose your rights as a citizen just because you work for government

28 Where Do I Begin? It’s all about relationships! Know who represents your community or communities and school district: and Make it part of your work plan to develop an ongoing relationship with at minimum of one or two Congressional offices

29 Methods: Meetings, Letters, Calls Face-to-Face meetings are ideal for beginning a relationship Variety of possible locations: office, program site Legislators don’t do details, but if they commit to an issue, it is GOLD Staff are critical; they have tremendous influence. Good relations with staff are essential.

30 Meetings: When? Now! Before a crisis, bill, or vote; background education is essential for relationship-building At the beginning of a new Congressional season - new staff, new priorities As specific legislation develops, it is important weigh in to help shape it After a bill is introduced, we need co-sponsors Think of the meeting as a conversation, not a presentation: watch for body language cues, pick up on their interests, encourage questions, ask questions

31 Meetings, Continued Don’t be intimidated - you are the expert! They work for you. If you don ’ t know an answer, tell them you’ll get back to them; don ’ t be thrown by jargon Present broad statements, supported by specifics ( “ accomplishments and challenges ” ) Research the Member ’ s priorities - frame the issue accordingly Provide statistics, real stories that illustrate the need for policy change Arrange visits with youth and families if possible

32 Meeting: Wrapping Up Provide only a few concise written materials (bullets and white space!) Conclude with your “ ask: ” prioritize your requests and state the specific commitments you are seeking (it doesn’t have to be a bill number; i.e. “ We’d like to ask for your support of adequate funding for homeless education; changing HUD’s definition of homelessness;…) Refer them to NAEHCY for policy specifics ( “ Have your people in Washington contact my people in Washington. ” ) Follow up with a thank you letter that summarizes the meeting and the commitment you are seeking Offer yourself as a resource to them Keep in touch - find ways to maintain the relationship separate from the “ ask ” (i.e. newsletter, news stories, invitations, accomplishments) 1

33 It ’ s “ Who You Know: ” Getting Connected Other people can help pave the way to a relationship:  State legislators  Mayors  City Council Members  Community partners and civic groups  Business leaders  Spouses Ask for their help with getting a meeting, urging the member to take a specific position, or making the issue a priority

34 Letters Letters are an important advocacy method as legislation develops, or to gain co-sponsors once a bill is introduced Always personalize and localize letters, make them unique Fax is better than snail mail s are least effective; but if you send one, be sure to add your mailing address Be specific, and request the favor of a response Numbers matter! Circulate widely and “ gently ” remind others to follow through Get letters from diverse community groups (businesses, others beyond the “ usual ” suspects)

35 Phone Calls Before key votes or decisions, phone calls can make a difference State that you are a constituent State specific request: “ Vote yes on the Murray amendment to increase homeless education funding! ” Urge others to make calls

36 Don ’ t Forget to Say “ Thank You ” If a member takes an action to support the issue - whether a vote, a letter, or a bill sponsorship - dont forget to say thank you Let them know the specific benefits of their actions Give awards and recognition where appropriate

37 There’s Strength in Numbers Ask other groups to take up the issue - get it on their agenda:  Local and state homeless coalitions  Children ’ s advocacy groups  Education advocacy groups  PTA  Junior League  Faith-based groups  Businesses Gather addresses of friends, colleagues to distribute materials

38 Shine a Spotlight: Media Attention Local press articles get legislators attention Invite reporters to visit program (check with press offices, releases, etc.) Forward good articles to your legislators Invite legislators to participate in press events Write op-eds that praise or ask for leadership Write letters to the editor - look for “ pegs ”

39 Stay in Touch with Us! Legislative alerts and updates:


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