Target: U.S. Senate
Goal: Create realistic paths for homeless and foster care youth to obtain higher education
Homeless youth and youth navigating the foster care system struggle to access higher education. Their formal education has been disrupted frequently when they are often forced to move frequently. They often do not have regular adults in their lives, and struggle to have access to basic resources like food and housing. Many homeless and foster care youth dream of getting a higher education, in part to improve their social mobility as they enter adulthood.
NAEHCY (the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth) is now advocating The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act, S. 1754. The group introduced this legislation to the U.S. Senate in November 2013 by by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (WA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), and Mary Landrieu (LA).
The goal of The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act is to lessen the barriers to financial aid that homeless and foster youth experience. Another benefit is that it would make college more affordable for homeless and foster youth by providing in-state tuition. This act would also make giving work-study jobs to homeless and foster care youth a priority. Under this act, schools would be required to assist students without homes to return to during holiday and summer breaks. This is usually a barrier to higher education for this population — being homeless during Christmas and other winter holidays, then again in the summer. Schools would have a point of contact for homeless and foster youth so that there could be regular support for them. States like Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, and Michigan have already designated these “Single Points of Contact” (SPOCs) as a great success.
We’re already seen elements of this legislation help homeless and foster youth, so making these changes a regular part of higher education would only serve to further benefit struggling youth. Sign the letter below and urge the U.S. Senate to pass the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act today.
Dear U.S. Senate,
Homeless and foster youth depend on higher education to assist them on their paths to stable lives as adults. However, the higher education model is not currently set up to cater to some of this population’s needs. Specifically, homeless and foster youth depend on housing during school breaks, priority for on-campus and work-study jobs, and a point-of-contact staff member to advocate for their needs. These needs are all addressed in the the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act.
We urge you to support this act and help make it into law. The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act is supported by homeless and foster youth advocates and survivors across the nation, and has the support of NAEHCY (The National Association for The Education of Homeless Children and Youth).
Please do your best to pass this act as quickly as possible. The future of hundreds of American homeless and foster youth depend on your support.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: VOA via Wikimedia Commons