ACF and HUD Collaborate to Prevent Homelessness

 Working Together: Increasing Early Childhood Education Services for Homeless Children

Ensuring the well-being of our youngest children is essential to the work of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and is especially urgent when considering the vulnerability of young children experiencing homelessness.

In the United States, more than 1.6 million children, many under the age of six, live on the streets, in homeless shelters, in campgrounds, temporarily doubled up with others, or are otherwise without a stable home.  A family’s housing circumstances can change very suddenly as evidenced when natural disasters cause families to be at least temporarily homeless.  Research shows that children who experience homelessness also experience higher rates of chronic illness, developmental delays, anxiety and depression than children who live in stable homes. 

ACF is partnering with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to present a webinar for Communities of Care (CoC) grantees on June 27, 2013. This webinar, Working Together: Increasing Early Childhood Education Services for Homeless Children is the second webinar in a collaborative series on connecting education and homelessness services for CoC grantees.  

Speakers include Kiersten Biegel, Family and Community Partnership Specialist with the Office of Head Start at ACF, Minh Le, Program Specialist with the Office of Child Care at ACF and Kathleen Liffick, Director for Champaign County Head Start based out of the County Regional Planning Commission (IL).

Links to the Power Point will be available through ACF and HUD.  Registration for the Working Together: Increasing Early Childhood Education Services for Homeless Children webinar is at: http://learning.center4si.com/course/webinar.php?id=124

Presented to the Office of the President and Congress on June 22, 2010, Opening Doors was the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness. Opening Doors serves as a roadmap for joint action by the 19 USICH member agencies along with local and state partners in the public and private sectors. In September 2012, USICH released an Amendment to Opening Doors, providing further clarity on what needs to be done specifically for youth and children if we are to reach the goal of ending homelessness among families, children and youth by 2020. 

Since the release of Opening Doors in June 2010, communities across the nation have come together at the federal, state, and local levels to make progress towards the Plan’s major goals:

  • Ending chronic and Veteran homelessness by 2015;
  • Ending homelessness for families, youth and children by 2020; and
  • Setting a path to end all types of homelessness.

While progress in the fight to end homelessness has been made, more work must be done to provide support and stability for children and youth experiencing homelessness. 

Enhanced public information and improved access to services are key to success. The collaboration of ACF and HUD to provide information and resources to grantees has been designed to be informative for grantees to increase access to early care and education.

For more information on ACF and its policies and resources to connect early childhood and homelessness providers, please contact Marsha.Basloe@acf.hhs.gov or visit the ACF Office for Early Childhood Development for information and resources, including a policy package on Expanding Early Care and Education for Homeless Children. To subscribe please click here.