11/02/2012 - What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH - October 29-November 2

The first two days of this week federal offices in Washington, DC were closed due to Hurricane Sandy. USICH sends our condolences to those who lost loved ones. Our thoughts are with those who are struggling to recover from this disaster and for those working tirelessly in recovery efforts. To donate for the recovery effort via The American Red Cross, you can do so directly from their homepage:

Mark Horvath of wrote this piece in the Huffington Post today about the power of social media that was used to help homeless services as they struggled to keep individuals safe in shelters during Hurricane Sandy - a powerful timeline of how people from across the country assisted in those in shelter or supportive housing during this disaster. 

Read it here

New study about students experiencing homelessness

The University of Minnesota released a new study about the challenges and resiliency of students experiencing homelessness in the journal Child Development. This study examined academic achievement data for over 26,000 students in the Minneapolis Public Schools from third through eighth grades, comparing students identified as homeless or highly mobile with other students in the federal free meal program, reduced price meals, or neither. Achievement gaps appeared stable or widened between homeless or highly mobile students and lower risk groups. Math and reading achievement were lower, and growth in math was slower in years of homeless or highly mobile identification, suggesting acute consequences of housing instability. However, there is surprising resiliency: around 45% of homeless or highly mobile students scored within or above the average range in both math and reading despite their living situation. Results underscore the need for research on risk and resilience processes among homeless or highly mobile students to address achievement disparities. This study was also added to USICH's Research Database, along with over 200 studies on homelessness. 

Read news coverage of this story

Access the study

This work was also recently presented at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Annual Conference. We encourage you to check out their redesigned website, with reports on housing programs for unaccompanied youth to ensure completion of high school and educational resources. 

Veterans homelessness

This week, USICH released a guest blog post that discussed the integration of StandDown events into efforts to end chronic veteran homelessness in Phoenix. StandDowns are events that take place around the country that last one to three days and provide assistance to Veterans experiencing homelessness. Community partners come together to provide comprehensive services all in one place including housing referrals and shelter services, meals, clothing, health screenings, enrollment in mainstream benefit programs, and employment services.

Veterans are able to have one-stop access to a wide variety of services to help them regain stability. This program is funded as a part of the Department of Labor's Veterans Employment and Training Service and is supported both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Coalition for Homeless Veterasn. There was a recent StandDown event in Hawaii that brought together 35 service providers to meet the needs of veterans experiencing homelessness on the island.

Click here for a list of upcoming StandDowns

In addition, this week USICH’s Laura Zeilinger and Beth Sandor of 100,000 Homes discussed our progress on Veterans homelessness on Minnesota Public Radio. Listen to their discussion here.

With the election around the corner…

We shared a timely article through our social media outlets this week about D.C. volunteers registering people experiencing homelessness to vote. As part of a nationwide effort, the National Coalition for the Homeless has been working in communities to ensure that individuals experiencing homelessness are registered and cast their vote. It’s estimated that 70 percent of those experiencing homelessness on election day would be eligible to vote, while about one in 10 would be registered and actually cast a ballot.

Click here to read the full article and learn more


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