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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: October 15, 2020 02:15 PM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness
               In the 2018-2019 school year, 39,221 school children experienced homelessness in Pennsylvania. That’s an increase of 8% over the last school year, which was nearly 30% higher than the year before.

              The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law which requires that school districts accommodate students who are experiencing homelessness to keep at least one aspect of their lives stable. This may mean providing accommodations for transportation from wherever the student is staying to providing additional services to ensure the student is able to keep up with their classmates.

              Students classified as homeless include children impacted by the opioid crisis, fleeing domestic violence, parents who have lost jobs, and LGBTQ youth who have been kicked out of their homes. These students are living with friends, relatives, in cars, in motels, and often their peers and school officials are often the first to know that the student is struggling. The McKenny-Vento act ensures that each region has a coordinator who provides services specifically to support these students and get them to graduation, however, we know that there are children falling through the cracks.

              So please join me in supporting this resolution to declare November 16-20th as Students Experiencing Homelessness Awareness Week and November 20th as “Red Shirt Day” to raise awareness not only of the issue of homelessness but to encourage students and their friends to seek help and support.

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Introduced as SR408