New Report: Homeless Housing and Head Start Systems Working Together

Posted by People's Emergency Center (PEC) on February 1, 2022

This report, prepared by Pennsylvania Head Start State Collaboration Office, Dr. Grace Whitney, and People’s Emergency Center, contains new information on children and families enrolled in Head Start who are experiencing homelessness and seeking housing assistance, in Pennsylvania. It includes Head Start data for the 2018-2019 program year (school year). This report also presents these Head Start data for each of Pennsylvania’s 16 Continuum of Care (CoC) regions.

Pennsylvania’s 76 Head Start agencies promote the school readiness of children ages birth to 5. During the 2018-2019 program year, the state’s Head Start programs served approximately 45,000 children and 40,000 families.

  • 2,690 children and 2,508 families participating in Head Start experienced homelessness during the 2018-2019 program year, and roughly 6% of enrollments were based on categorical eligibility under the McKinney-Vento Act.
  • Six hundred and ninety (690) families who experienced homelessness acquired housing during the year, or 28%.
  • 12% (1 in 8) of families enrolled in PA Head Start during the 2018-2019 program year needed or requested some type of housing-related assistance.
  • The data on family services indicate that 4,618 families requested or needed housing related services during the 2018-2019 program year and 4,030 families received such services, thus many of the Head Start families needing housing supports were able to receive them.

Recommendations include:

  • CoC Regions are encouraged to proactively outreach to Head Start programs to offer housing assistance. An outreach plan can be developed, perhaps a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which describes what ongoing contacts and periodic visits occur throughout the year.
  • Head Start program staff are encouraged to develop relationships with their CoC leadership to identify how to help their families access housing assistance and to explore what strategies would work best in their region.
  • Head Start and CoCs are encouraged to engage the Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness (ECYEH) Regional Coordinator, LEA Liaisons and local schools, and representatives of the CoC region’s Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) to establish a strategic plan with action steps aimed at increasing housing assistance for families and accessing early learning benefits for families thus increasing enrollment in quality early learning for children experiencing homelessness.

Read the report at Policy Publications – PEOPLE’S EMERGENCY CENTER

Also see item in “Other Local Events and Eorkshops” section of this Update for a forum to offer insight from local leadership from rural, suburban, and urban regions – The Head Start and Continuum of Care Forum, February 23, 2022.

More in "New Resources"

Stay Current in Philly's Higher Education and Nonprofit Sector

We compile a weekly email with local events, resources, national conferences, calls for proposals, grant, volunteer and job opportunities in the higher education and nonprofit sectors.