LOS ANGELES (Nov. 5, 2013) — The Board of Education, along with the Los Angeles Unified Homeless Education Department, is recognizing November as National Homeless Youth Awareness Month.
This is the first year the District is aligning with Congress, which passed in 2007 a resolution to bring awareness to homeless youth across the U.S.
School Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic said, “Homeless youth and their needs are very important to the District. It is time we highlight the great services our Homeless Education Department provides to our students. We all need to ensure that services are provided in a timely manner to our students to support their academic success.”
The goal of the resolution is to highlight the issue of homeless youth within the District. Currently the LAUSD has approximately 13,000 students identified as homeless. During November all students, employees and community members are asked to engage in discussions on this topic.
At the November 12, School Board meeting, homeless students are scheduled to address Board Members on the District’s efforts to remove barriers to education for homeless students.
Below are some suggested activities for school sites:
• Send a memo during the first week of November to teachers about the essay contest. The suggested topic: What change would you make to homeless services in L.A. County if you were in Congress?
• Create displays informing students about the poster contest that will take place at lunch during the last week of November.
• Write a letter supporting more services for homeless youth.
• Wear purple during the month of November, or on Tuesday, Nov. 12 (for the board presentation).
• Participate in the United Way’s Homewalk on November 23.
• Organize a food drive to donate to a local food bank or food pantry.
• Organize a group of coworkers to sponsor a family or graduate through the District’s Homeless Education Program.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 1.6 million teenagers, between the ages of 15 and 17, are homeless on any given night across the nation. Many live in Los Angeles and attend our schools.
The District’s Homeless Education Program can provide the following assistance:
• Facilitate the school enrollment process to ensure equal access to educational services, free-or-reduced price-meals, tutoring and other programs available at the school site.
• Conduct professional development trainings for school personnel and community agencies regarding the rights and responsibilities of homeless students.
• Provide technical assistance regarding the proper identification, enrollment, and service needs of homeless students and their families.
• Provide assistance with transportation, backpacks, school supplies, and clothing.
• Provide medical, dental, and mental health referrals, in addition to other school/community services.
• Educate students, parents and guardians on their educational rights, and promote their participation in school related activities.
• Assist unaccompanied youth with enrollment procedures, school placement options, and retrieval of immunization records.
• Provide assistance to specialized populations of homeless students, including preschoolers, homeless teen parents, children with special needs, and unaccompanied youth.
To help LA Unified’s homeless students, the California Pizza Kitchen’s Seventh Street Marketplace location in Downtown L.A. is donating 20 percent of sales during November when a customer presents a flyer available at http://homelesseducation.lausd.net. The funds will be used to purchase school supplies, backpacks and hygiene items.
No child asks to be homeless, or to move from school to school, but the District offers support and much more.
Contact: Monica Carazo (213) 241-6766