NAEHCY brings the experience and expertise of its members, Youth Task Forces and Higher Education Networks into state legislatures across the country. From California to Texas to North Carolina, we lead and support efforts to improve state laws related to family and youth homelessness. Members, advocates and young people can contact us for technical assistance with state legislative efforts and consult our “How-To Manual”, which provides tools for creating state and local laws and policies to support unaccompanied homeless youth.
NAEHCY’s Task Forces bring the expertise of practitioners into state policy, creating laws to respond to real conditions and the real needs of youth.
- SB 1494 requires school districts to assist students experiencing homelessness with transitions when they change schools, including facilitating access to full participation, awarding partial credit, and allowing the student to graduate from the prior district.
- NAEHCY and the Texas Network of Youth Services partnered to add questions about youth homelessness to the statewide Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) in 2015. The CDC will include these questions in their optional questionnaire for all states in 2017.
With direct leadership from our California Youth Task Forces, more laws supporting homeless youth were passed in 2013 than in any other year in the history of the State Legislature, with 2014 running a close second. Together with partners like the CA Homeless Youth Project, Housing California and the California Coalition for Youth, NAEHCY has shepherded the following bills into laws in the past three years.
- AB 1806 facilitates high school graduation for homeless youth who have to change schools in the last two years of high school and helps ensure consideration of homelessness in potential suspensions and expulsions.
- AB 982 empowers homeless liaisons, Head Start programs and transitional shelters to identify children experiencing homeless, giving them categorical eligibility for subsidized child care.
- SB 252 establishes a fee waiver for students experiencing homelessness to take the GED and the High School Proficiency Exam.
- AB 1228 gives currently and formerly homeless college students a priority for on-campus housing.
- AB 1733 provides free birth certificates and state IDs for homeless people.
- AB 309 eliminates barriers to SNAP benefits for unaccompanied youth. A statewide survey indicated this law helped over 11,000 homeless youth access food.
- SB 177 ensures immediate enrollment and full participation in school for students experiencing homelessness and creates a state-level work group to develop policies and practices to support homeless children and youth and ensure that child abuse and neglect reporting requirements do not create barriers to the school enrollment and attendance of homeless children or youth. A statewide survey indicated this law helped over 27,000 homeless youth enroll in and attend school.
- AB 1068 gives unaccompanied youth the right to access and disclose their own educational records and protects the privacy of homeless students’ education information.
- AB 652 clarifies that being unaccompanied and homeless is not sufficient reason to report a youth to child protective services.
Learn more about the NAEHCY's California Task Force work in Policy-to-Practice: Implementation and Impact of California Policies on Youth Homelessness from 2013.
NAEHCY has provided testimony, research, technical assistance and strategic support to additional legislative initiatives in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Wyoming.