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Homeless Youth Awareness Workshop. Welcome: Dr. Glenn Pelecky, Mississippi Bend AEA, Chief Administrator Cindy Swanson, MSW, MA Mississippi Bend AEA, Head of Professional Development Ellen Reilly, MA Davenport Community Schools, Homeless Education Liaison. Homeless Youth Simulation .

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homeless youth awareness workshop
Homeless Youth Awareness Workshop


Dr. Glenn Pelecky,

Mississippi Bend AEA, Chief Administrator

Cindy Swanson, MSW, MA

Mississippi Bend AEA, Head of Professional Development

Ellen Reilly, MA

Davenport Community Schools, Homeless Education Liaison

Music played today:Homeless, Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Long Walk to Freedom, Heads Up Africa Series, Gallo Music International, 2006

homeless youth simulation

Homeless Youth Simulation

A day in the life of a homeless teenager….

Can YOU do it?

goals for today
Goals for Today
  • Gain insight into the day-to-day realities faced by homeless teenagers
  • Become advocates for homeless youth in our schools and community
  • You will be a homeless teen for a “day”
  • The simulation will last for 45 minutes….each 5 minutes is an hour.
  • You will be asked to complete a list of tasks by the end of the 9 hours.
  • You will be prompted every 5 minutes that the hour is over, and another one has begun to move you through the “day”.
  • Review your simulation materials (bio and map) to see what tasks you must complete during the simulation and what documents you have. Both are listed on your bio.
  • Maintain your role as much as possible
  • Help us out with clean-up after the simulation. It is much appreciated!!!
  • If you don’t have transportation, you must ride the “bus”. You cannot move from your location until the bus goes by. You can get on and off at any stop but must wait for the bus to travel to another location.
  • If you have transportation (friend, family member) you can travel from location to location at any time.

This info is indicated ON YOUR BIO.

  • Keep in mind that finding shelter may not be something at an actual shelter. You may be able to find another place to stay for example, a friends house.
good luck
Good Luck!
  • Try to be realistic about your role
  • Take your circumstances seriously
  • Imagine the fears and frustrations faced by teenagers in this situation
let s get started
  • Figure out your plan for the day based on what tasks you need to complete.
  • Begin your day……….when the bell rings.
  • Every hour (5 minutes) the bell will ring, signifying an hour is over and another has begun. The bell will ring a total of 9 times, once to begin the day, and then 8 more times. Watch the screens to keep track of the day.
  • You must have a bus pass to ride the bus. Check at various locations to get a pass.
bell one 7 00am
BELL ONE: 7:00am
  • Begin your day
  • Make sure you are working towards accomplishing your tasks.
de briefing
  • Take a few moments to discuss the following with your tablemates:
    • How did you feel while participating in this simulation?
    • What thoughts did you have while trying to accomplish your tasks by the end of the day?
    • Did your participation change your ideas or perceptions about homeless youth?
recognition of organizations that work with homeless youth locally
Recognition of organizations that work with homeless youth locally
  • Ben Cleaveland, Bethany for Children and Families
  • Molli Nickerson, Project Now
  • Penny Kellenberger, The Center
  • Adela Martinez, The Place2B
  • Chantell Lamont, ELEVATE
  • Marty McLaughlin, Foster Care & Parent Association
  • Kelly Thompson, Humility of Mary Shelter
  • Jill Green, United Way 211 Referrals
did you know
Did you know…
  • 1.37 million (or 39%) of the total homeless population are children under the age of 18. (2009 statistic)
  • 57% of homeless kids spend at least one day every month without food.
did you know1
Did you know…..
  • 50% of adolescents aging out of foster care and juvenile justice systems will be homeless within six months because they are unprepared to live independently, have limited education and no social support.
  • Over 25% of former foster children become homeless within two to four years of leaving the system.
According to a study of youth in shelters, nearly 50% reported intense conflict or physical harm by a family member as a major contributing factor to their homelessness.
  • In the United States, as many as 20,000 children and youth are forced into prostitution by human trafficking networks every year.
how do you measure homelessness
How do you measure homelessness?
  • Measuring homelessness is difficult because of the fluidity of the homeless population.
  • Part of the difficulty stems from varying methodologies used to measure homelessness.
  • Some researchers attempt to count all the people who are literally homeless on a given day or during a given week, called a "point-in-time" count.
  • Critics say this method is likely to overestimate the number of chronically homeless and underestimate the number of people who experience temporary homelessness.

Quad Cities Homeless Youth Needs Assessment Summary(A copy of the summary is in your folder on the right side)

Thank you to the following organizations for their successful partnership in completing this work:

Catholic Charities

YWCA of Rock Island

St. Ambrose University School of Social Work

Community Foundation of the Greater River Bend

Presented by : Adam McCormick, St. Ambrose

details of data collection
Details of Data Collection
  • Summer of 2009, Catholic Charities, the YWCA of Rock Island, St. Ambrose University School of Social Work, and the Community Foundation of the Greater River Bend partnered to conduct a community wide assessment of the needs of homeless youth in the Quad City area.
  • 16 focus groups were conducted with over 160 at-risk youth to address the experiences, challenges, and needs of homeless youth.
  • In addition to the focus group data investigators collected survey data assessing numerous issues including types of living experiences and prevalence of homelessness.
  • Participants were recruited from 10 social service agencies across the Quad City area.
why they are homeless
Why they are homeless…
  • Based on the discussions that took place, most of the youth felt that what happens at home is fundamental to whether or not a youth leaves home.
    • Incidences of physical and verbal abuse were widely reported among the youth. Many youth noted that these were major contributing factors to the reasons young people leave home.
    • Lack of communication with parents, including parents being physically and/or emotionally unavailable to them influenced their leaving home.
  • Just under 10% of youth identified finding shelter as their most significant challenge. The same percentage identified finding food as a significant challenge.
  • As one youth pointed out, even when they try to get help, they can’t. “I’ve been homeless multiple times. I’ve called many different places and half the time they don’t ever call you back when they say they’re going to or they don’t even help you”
challenges cont
Challenges cont…
  • In addition, depression and anxiety (16%), and transportation (16%) were consistently identified as the greatest challenge facing youth.
what homeless youth want
What Homeless Youth Want
  • When it came to determining what services should be offered in the shelter, counselors and therapists were mentioned quite frequently.
  • Several youth also noted that it should made clear right away that where they are (agency) is offering help and has someone there that youth can go to for help.
  • Youth mentioned things such as listings for jobs and affordable housing options as well as listings of other available community resources.
  • Other suggestions included having “circle sessions” where the youth would be able to get to know one another.
the mckinney vento homeless education act

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act

Effective Education for Homeless Children and Youth

Homeless Youth Awareness Workshop

March 2011

Presented by Ellen Reilly

Homeless Education Liaison for Davenport Community Schools

PowerPoint adapted from the State of Vermont and modified for this presentation

what is the definition of a homeless student
What is the definition of a Homeless Student?

A homeless student is an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.

what is the definition of an unaccompanied youth
What is the definition of an Unaccompanied Youth?

A homeless Unaccompanied Youth is:

  • an adolescent who is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian and
  • who meets the criteria for homelessness in the definition

Students are still considered homeless even if their parents say that they can return home. (Often times older students are trying to escape from an abusive situation)

how why does a student become homeless
How/why does a student become homeless?

A student may be homeless as a result of eviction,

economic hardship, divorce, illness, natural disaster,

domestic violence or other reasons and may be living in:

  • Shared housing (doubled up)
  • Motels, hotels, camp grounds
  • Shelters or emergency housing
  • Cars, parks, or other public places that are not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations
educational impacts
Educational Impacts
  • Every time a child has to change schools, his or her education is disrupted. According to some estimates, 3-6 months of education are lost with every move.
  • Homeless children are at high risk for falling behind in school due to their mobility. Without an opportunity to receive an education, homeless children are much less likely to acquire the skills they need to escape poverty as adults.
what the mckinney vento homeless assistance act does for homeless youth
What The McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act Does for Homeless Youth…
  • Maintains educational continuity for students and families during a time of transition
  • Requires schools to identify and enroll students who meet the definition of homeless
  • Supported under the “No Child Left Behind Act”
how do we identify and enroll homeless students
How do we identify and enroll homeless students?

This is not a perfect process. It is a difficult issue for some to talk

about and ask for help. For others, they are in dire need and seek out

assistance or ask for a referral. There are a variety of ways that the

schools may find out a student is experiencing homelessness.

Regardless, once a student is identified as homeless:

  • Ensure the guidance counselor who is the assigned homeless point of contact in the building is notified immediately of the situation.
  • Document in district student information system.
  • Maintain the student and family's privacy and dignity.
  • Families/Students cannot be forced to accept services. It is important to respect their decisions as a family even if you do not agree with them.
how do we identify and enroll homeless students1
How do we identify and enroll homeless students?
  • You can try to collect housing information at

registration, but remember to use discretion and respect the family and their privacy.

  • Ensure “Homeless Information Posters” for parents and youth are prominently displayed. They should be located in your main office where parents can see them. They are also available in Spanish.
how are schools required to serve homeless students
How are schools required to serve homeless students?
  • Every school district in Iowa must designate a homeless education liaison.
  • Identify and immediately enroll homeless students based on the best interest of the child and the preference of the parent or unaccompanied youth
  • Schools may not deny a homeless student enrollment, even if they are missing medical or educational records (proof of homelessness may be requested by homeless liaison for the district)
  • Provide transportation options for students to continue attending school of origin (if appropriate)
what are homeless education liaisons required to do
What are Homeless Education Liaisons required to do?
  • Facilitate identification and enrollment by knowing the law, train school staff and display parent/youth posters in each school
  • Make sure that homeless students receive transportation (if appropriate), free meals, Title I and early education services…and all other services available to non-homeless students
  • Link homeless students to appropriate services in both the school and the community
meals for homeless youth
Meals for Homeless Youth

Once a student is identified as homeless, school food service may not:

  • Single that student out in any way
  • Serve them meals that are not equivalent to what other students are receiving
  • Make them stand in a separate line for lunch
  • Indicate in any way to others, including other food service employees, that the student is homeless or receiving free meals.
  • Send home or mark the student in any way if their meal account is showing a negative balance.
data collection in your district
Data Collection in your District
  • Districts should identify students in their student information system and ensure appropriate services are offered to students and their families.
  • Data is required to be reported to state entities on an annual basis
  • Districts should review homeless data on a regular basis to be in tune with current trends
resources to support your work with homeless students
Resources to support your work with homeless students


If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Ellen Reilly at 563-336-3832 or by email at [email protected]

lunch till 12 30pm
Lunch till 12:30pm

A 20/20 (YouTube version) clip on homeless students will be shown starting at 12:15pm.

Maggie Tinsman will start promptly at 12:30pm.

Music played today: Homeless, Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Long Walk to Freedom, Heads Up Africa Series, Gallo Music International, 2006

The cardboard cutouts represent “lost children” who age out of the foster care system and fall through the cracks. They were specially delivered through the efforts of Marty McLaughlin from the Foster Care and Adoptive Parents Association and CASA in Waterloo, IA. Thanks Marty!!!!