A Child's Barrier to Education

“Homelessness is not a sufficient reason to separate students from the mainstream school environment”…argues legislation introduced last month.

On April 25, 2013, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced “The Educational Success for Children and Youth Without Homes Act of 2013”.  This legislation aims to strengthen parts of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act originally passed and signed into law in 1987.  The McKinney-Vento Act aimed to protect the right to education of homeless youth.  This act defines homeless children and youth as “any individual who lacks fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.”  This includes children “hotelin” with their families as well as:

  • Children sharing housing due to economic hardship or loss of housing;
  • Children living in “motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations”
  • Children living in “emergency or transitional shelters”
  • Children “awaiting foster care placement”
  • Children whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc.)
  • Children living in “cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations…”

A Child's Barrier to Education
Children across the country slip out of the education system everyday.  To address this problem, it is important to empower education systems to identify and enable the youth that fall into these categories and slip out of school.  The Educational Success for Children and Youth Without Homes Act of 2013 proposes to increase the federal protection of and expand services for these children.
As our previous blog Hotelin at Disney: A New Way of Living explains, some families living in hotels are renting out one of their beds to make a little extra cash.  Under recent legislation families living in “doubled-up” arrangements in houses, apartments and hotels would be included under the definition of homeless.  A Huffington Post article cited in the last blog entry states, “As of now, the only homeless people eligible for help from the Department of Housing and Urban Development are those who live in shelters or on the streets, with narrow exceptions. The law would add around 700,000 kids to the thousands who already meet the department’s definition of homelessness.”
A Child's Barrier to Education