Were you aware that 2/3 of adults experiencing homelessness have not received a high school diploma or completed a GED?

Strength in Numbers: Conferences and Collaborations to Support Homeless Youth in Higher Education

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Last month, NAEHCY’s Director of Higher Education Initiatives, Cyekeia Lee, attended UMass Boston’s Office of Urban and Off-Campus Support Services (U-ACCESS) third annual conference to support homeless and foster youth in higher education. This year’s conference theme was “Trauma Informed Practices to Support Homeless Youth Accessing Post-Secondary Education.”

Attendees included over 100 homeless education professionals, community service providers, state agencies, post-secondary administrators, faculty, staff and students. 

UMass Boston is one of few campuses to host a conference specifically addressing the needs of homeless and foster youth in higher education. A close partner of NAEHCY’s Higher Education Initiative, U-ACCESS has become a leader in establishing best practices to support homeless students. The campus extends its efforts beyond the conference by providing case management, a food pantry, referrals for housing and other community supports, and hosting a statewide network to support homeless youth attending post-secondary institutions across the state. 

Also in attendance and keynoting at the U-ACCESS annual conference was Jessica Sutherland, Co-Founder of Homeless to Higher Education. Homeless to Higher Education, another NAEHCY partner, removes barriers to higher education by raising awareness about homeless youth, mentoring, and providing college navigation resources to homeless students. We are thrilled to announce that Jessica will be a keynote speaker at NAEHCY’s annual conference this October, sharing best practices to support homeless youth as they transition from K-12 to secondary education.

Through our participation in conferences such as U-ACCESS’ annual conference, and by building partnerships with homeless and higher education professionals, NAEHCY is expanding our reach to support homeless youth in their pursuits of higher education. We urge you to support our efforts by adding sessions on homeless students in  higher education to your state conferences, or by hosting a conference specifically on this topic.

To learn more about NAEHCY’s resources to support homeless youth in higher education, please visit our higher education webpage at

Cyekeia Lee, Shirley Fan-Chan, Jesssica Sutherland

Cyekeia Lee, NAEHCY's Director of Higher Education Initiatives; Shirley Fan-Chan, Director of U-ACCESS and NAEHCY Board Member; and Jessica Sutherland, Co-Founder of Homeless to Higher Education

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October 27-30, 2018
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