State Higher Education Networks
NAEHCY’s State Higher Education Networks consist of stakeholders from K-12 education, higher education, Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shelters, community agencies, and college access programs. Network members collaborate to identify and address barriers to higher education access, retention, and success for youth experiencing homelessness.
NAEHCY supports State Higher Education Networks by providing technical assistance, training, and facilitation to help the network develop a statewide higher education strategy for homeless youth. Strategies focus on raising awareness of the needs of homeless youth, increasing access to higher education for these youth, and identifying and providing basic needs and educational supports during the transition into higher education and while the student is enrolled in postsecondary education.
While many of the state networks have the same goals, the networks operate independently and do not look alike. Examples of network projects, collaborations, and achievements to date include:
- Appointing a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to be a supportive college administrator who is committed to helping unaccompanied homeless youth (UHY) successfully navigate the college-going process on campuses in Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, and North Carolina. NAEHCY is working to create SPOCs on campuses in Alabama, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. For more information on the SPOC model, please see NAEHCY's Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Tip Sheet for Higher Education McKinney-Vento Single Points of Contact (SPOCs)
- The University of Massachusetts Boston’s Office of Urban and Off Campus Support Services (U-ACCESS), created a food pantry to provide meals to unaccompanied homeless youth on its campus.
- Kennesaw State University, a partner in the Georgia network, implemented a campus awareness and resource empowerment center, known as the C.A.R.E. Program, to address and support the needs of homeless students on its campus.
- Colorado’s network has obtained designated funding to defer housing costs, purchase IDs, bedding, and other school supplies for UHY.
- New Hampshire’s network has partnered with the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF) to provide scholarships for UHY and assist with trainings and awareness activities.
Currently, NAEHCY supports and provides technical assistance to the following states:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- New Jersey
In 2015, NAEHCY also helped the following states develop State Higher Education Networks:
In 2016, we will launch a request for proposals for states that are interested in developing higher education networks for homeless youth. Stay tuned to this website for more information.
The California network is in development under the leadership of the California Homeless Youth Project. Stakeholders will include representatives from UC, CSU, and Community Colleges, financial aid administrators, housing and service providers, state and national homeless youth advocacy organizations, researchers, and other key stakeholders. The network will also include voices from young people who have experienced homelessness to help shape goals and activities. This initiative is supported by funding from the California Wellness Foundation. To get involved, visit the California Homeless Youth Project website. Sign up for their newsletter, or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
The Colorado network operates through leadership from the Colorado Department of Education’s Homeless Education Program. Colorado’s network has a robust task force of stakeholders from homeless education, higher education, youth shelters, and community service providers dedicated to eliminating barriers to post-secondary education for homeless youth. The network also has established Single Points of Contact at each postsecondary institution in the state to assist unaccompanied homeless youth. For more information about the Colorado network, please visit the Homeless Higher Education website.
The Florida Department of Education’s Homeless Education Program has been collaborating with post-secondary education institutions in the state to streamline higher education access for homeless students. The network is currently in the process of identifying Singe Points of Contact at post-secondary education institutions. For resources and technical assistance please visit the Florida Homeless Education website.
The EMBARK Network operates under leadership from the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership and Development at the University of Georgia. The network includes stakeholders from the State Department of Education, higher education professionals, and homeless education professionals. Both the University System of Georgia (USG) and the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) have a Designated Point of Contact (DPOC) at each higher education institution for homeless and foster students. For more information please visit the Embark Network website.
The Illinois State Board of Education is overseeing the development of the statewide network. Trainings for homeless education professionals and higher education professionals have been conducted to streamline higher education access for homeless youth in the state. For more information on the Illinois State Board of Education Homeless program, please visit the ISBE website. The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has a city wide taskforce to address the needs of homeless youth including higher education access. For more information on the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless please visit the CCH Law Project website.
Homeless education program staff in Indiana have been instrumental in conducting trainings on higher education access for homeless youth, and establishing points of contact for homeless youth on Indiana college campuses. More information coming soon.
The Kentucky network operated under leadership from the Kentucky Department of Education’s Homeless Education Program. The network established relationships with postsecondary institutions to streamline access to higher education for homeless youth. For more information about the Kentucky Department of Education please visit the KDE website.
The Maryland network is developing under a collaboration between the Public Justice Center and Advocates for Children and Youth. Stakeholders include higher education professionals, foster care advocates, community service providers, and state delegates. The network is currently outlining its goals and activities to support homeless and foster youth in higher education.
The Massachusetts network operates through a partnership between the University of Boston Massachusetts Office of Urban and Off-Campus Support Services (U-ACCESS) and the Policy Director at the Massachusetts Appleseed Law Firm. The network has established a robust task force of stakeholders dedicated to eliminating barriers to higher education access for homeless youth, including Single Points of Contact (SPOCs) for homeless students at 13 post-secondary institutions. View the network’s SPOC directory or find out more information about the Massachusetts network on the MA Post-Secondary Homeless Student website.
The Michigan network operates through a partnership between the Michigan Department of Education’s Homeless Education Program and stakeholders from post-secondary education programs in Michigan. The Michigan network has established Single Points of Contact for homeless youth at all fifteen public universities in the state. For more information and for network contacts, please contact the NAEHCY Higher Education Helpline.
The Montana network is under the leadership of the Montana Office of Public Instruction’s Education of Homeless Children and Youth Program. The network includes stakeholders from homeless education programs and post-secondary education programs. For more information on Montana’s Homeless Education Program, please visit their website.
The New Hampshire network operates under leadership from the New Hampshire Department of Education’s Homeless Education program. The network has established a robust task force of stakeholders dedicated to eliminating barriers to postsecondary education access for homeless youth. For more information about the New Hampshire network, please visit the NHDOE website. The network has also established a great relationship with the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF), which offers scholarships and resources for homeless youth. For more information about the NHHEAF, please visit their resource page for students without a home. Lastly, the New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness (NHCEH) offers a scholarship for students that have experienced homelessness.
Stakeholders from the New Jersey Education Opportunity Fund Program (EOFPANJ) have been instrumental in leading efforts to bring awareness about homeless youth to post-secondary education institutions. Many trainings have been held for K-12 education, post-secondary education, and community service professionals. Please call the NAEHCY Higher Education Helpline to learn more about initiatives in the state.
The North Carolina network operates under leadership from the North Carolina Homeless Education Program and the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE). North Carolina’s network has established Single Points of Contacts (SPOCs) at each postsecondary institution in the state. For more information about the North Carolina network and for a complete listing of North Carolina's SPOCs, please visit the NCHEP website.
The Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP) provides college access, aid awareness, financial literacy, and student loan management programs and services that benefit students, parents, schools, and community partners. The Oklahoma College Access Network (OK-CAN), a branch of OCAP, has been instrumental in providing scholarship resources and trainings on access to postsecondary education for homeless youth. For more information about college access in Oklahoma, please visit OCAP’s website, or OK-CAN’s website.
The Pennsylvania network is under the leadership of Ms. Tori Weigant, Assistant Director of Financial Aid at West Chester University. Stakeholders include Pennsylvania’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program, post-secondary education institutions, shelter and transitional living programs, and community-based organizations. The network is currently working to identify Single Points of Contact for the network. For more information on West Chester University’s SPOC initiative please visit their website.
The Virginia network is under the leadership of Virginia’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program (Project HOPE). The network has a robust group of stakeholders that includes homeless education professionals, post-secondary education professionals, foster care professionals, and other community based organizations. The network is currentlly outlining future goals. More information coming soon.
Please note that housing options available through the networks vary as housing options on college campuses may be limited. Students looking for housing assistance may visit the Family of Youth Services Bureau website at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb/grants/fysb-grantees to locate a youth shelter or transitional living program.