Assessing Policy Barriers to Supporting New Jersey Youth Experiencing Homelessness Ages 12-25
SchoolHouse Connection is working in New Jersey assessing policy barriers in supporting youth experiencing homelessness.
SchoolHouse Connection is using two short, on-line surveys to conduct this assessment.
Housing providers, education programs, health and mental health care providers, food banks, juvenile justice and child welfare system partners, and Continuum of Care members are invited to provide feedback by completing a five-minute survey. Please share the survey link with other community partners.
Please note that there is also a special survey for youth ages 12-25 who have experienced homelessness (or currently are homeless). Please share that link with young people in your programs. Both surveys are anonymous.
Later this year, SchoolHouse Connection will offer a free State Advocacy Institute in New Jersey, share the survey results and facilitate the development a policy action plan for New Jersey based on the survey results.
These efforts will lead work with partners in the state to change policies through the 2018 state legislative session along with administrative advocacy.
NJCounts 2017 found:
- 6,340 homeless households in New Jersey in 2017 and 1,017 households were families with at least one child under the age of 18.
- NJCounts 2017 found 49 unaccompanied youth households under the age of 18 and 1,939 children under the age of 18.
- Of these children, 977 were five years of age or younger, and 962 were between the ages of six and seventeen.
- Children under the age of 18 represented 22.7% of the homeless population.
SchoolHouse Connection is a national non-profit promoting success for youth experiencing homelessness. SchoolHouse Connection is working in NJ and 9 other states to assess how state policies could better support youth, ages 12 to 25, experiencing homelessness.
The SchoolHouse Connection team has helped change youth policy in several states, facilitating access to housing, IDs, birth certificates, medical care, a high school diploma, and post-secondary education. SchoolHouse Connection joins with partners in New Jersey to obtain state policy changes.
SchoolHouse Connection engages in strategic advocacy and provide technical assistance in partnership with early care and education professionals (including school district homeless liaisons and state homeless education coordinators), young people, service providers, advocates, and local communities.
Education is a critical but often overlooked strategy to address child and youth homelessness, and prevent it from re-occurring in the future. Most well-paying jobs created today require at least a Bachelor’s degree. High school and college degrees are increasingly necessary to obtain employment that pays enough to afford housing. Education is also one of the greatest determinants of health and overall well-being.
In addition, schools, early childhood programs, and institutions of higher education can provide basic needs, caring adults, stability, normalcy, and resources to counteract the trauma and disruption of homelessness. As cornerstones of communities, they play pivotal roles in connecting children and youth who are experiencing homelessness to a wide array of services and supports.