NLCHP News: Back to School, McKinney-Vento Awards, and Victory in Hawaii
||A publication of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
|Lawyers Working to End Homelessness
||Vol. 7, No. 9
||From Maria's Desk
It's back to school season, and this year some
children are facing more challenges than ever, as more
and more families are poor or homeless.
While figures have yet to be compiled for many
communities, all indications are that as more families
are affected by the foreclosure crisis, more are
becoming homeless. Among those are renters, who
lose their homes simply because of foreclosure on
the property they are renting.
Meanwhile, along with their parents, children of these
families face terrible trauma and instability. Too often,
this is compounded by school instability. Once they
lose their housing, these children are subject to the
same barriers as all homeless children.
A bright spot is that the McKinney-Vento Education
Program can help, and NLCHP has materials to help you
understand and use the law.
We are working with partner groups to create more
targeted resources. Please let us know if you are
seeing increases in homelessness due to
foreclosures-affecting either owners or renters-in
your community by writing to Info@nlchp.org.
||2008 McKinney-Vento Annual Award Winners Announced!
NLCHP is pleased to announce the recipients of its
annual McKinney-Vento Awards. These awards
recognize individuals and organizations that have
advanced solutions to homelessness and poverty.
These awards also pay tribute to two outstanding
national leaders in the fight to end homelessness,
Stewart B. McKinney and Bruce F. Vento.
The Stewart B. McKinney Award will be presented to
Richard E. Schaden, founder of Quiznos Subs and
America's Road Home, for the national effort he
has initiated to address homelessness.
We are delighted to present U.S. Representative
Judy Biggert from Illinois with the Bruce F. Vento
Award. Ms. Biggert has been a major proponent of
recent legislative successes on behalf of homeless
The Pro Bono Counsel Award goes to Hogan &
Hartson for its significant pro bono work in the
past year, especially for preparing the 2008 Voting
Rights Report. Hogan & Hartson has demonstrated
its commitment to ending homelessness in America
since 1989, when the firm assisted NLCHP with its
incorporation and application for tax-exempt status.
Tonya Bullock of Baltimore, MD will receive the
Personal Achievement Award. After her family lost
their home and moved to a shelter in Baltimore
County, Ms. Bullock faced significant difficulties in
attempting to keep her son in his school. She has
since found stable housing for her family, has started
work for the State of Maryland and has enrolled in
Community College -- all while making sure that her
son has been able to continue his education.
This year's reception and dinner will be held on
Thursday, November 6, at the elegant Jones Day
law firm in Washington, DC, overlooking the U.S.
Capitol. A special thanks to Jones Day!
Information on sponsoring this year's event is available on
our website or by contacting Jordan Lamb at
||Groups Around the Country Promote Homeless Persons' Voting Rights
Dozens of service providers and advocates around the
country will be holding voter registration events to help
ensure homeless persons' voices are heard this
election year. Over 50 groups in almost 20 states will
be hosting voter education and registration events
during National Homeless & Low Income Voter
Registration Week from September 21 through
"We are thrilled to see so many groups from across
the country participating in the Voter Registration
Week. These efforts are an important way to include
homeless persons in the political process and
ensure their concerns are addressed by our
government officials," said Tulin Ozdeger, Civil Rights
Director at NLCHP.
NLCHP released a report in July of this year
documenting the problems that homeless persons
face when registering and voting. Homeless persons
face barriers with identification, mailing address, and
durational residency requirements when attempting to
register or vote, according to an NLCHP survey
highlighted in the report. Homeless persons often
find it challenging to get themselves to the polls in
order to participate.
While homeless persons face some challenges in
voting, the report provides recommendations on how
to overcome those barriers, as well as suggested
policy changes that could help homeless persons
have better access to voting.
For more information about National Homeless & Low
Income Voter Registration Week, contact Tulin
Ozdeger at email@example.com. You may also
access NLCHP's 2008 Voting Rights Report on our
website. You can also visit
our website for information on the Five
Fundamentals Campaign, a challenge to candidates
for public office to address homelessness.
||Extended Deadline: Submissions for Children's Art Contest
NLCHP is seeking submissions from homeless or
low-income children and youth for its annual artwork
Each year, NLCHP selects one winner and two
runners-up whose artwork will be displayed at the
McKinney-Vento Awards ceremony, along with other
selected artwork from this and previous years'
contests. The winning artwork will also be used on the
four awards that will be presented to the honorees at
the event, as well as other NLCHP outreach materials.
Submissions will be accepted from children who are
enrolled in after-school programs or art-related
organizations serving homeless and low-income
children or are currently residing in shelters. Entries in
the contest must meet all criteria listed in the
guidelines, and must also include the entry & release
form, signed by a parent or legal guardian.
The deadline for submissions is September 15,
2008. Visit the
NLCHP website for more information.
We will continue accepting submissions until October
10, 2008. Visit the NLCHP
website for more information.
||NLCHP urges DOJ to Consider Housing Needs of Survivors of Domestic Violence in Indian Country
NLCHP, along with the ACLU Women's Rights Project
and the Native American Indian Housing Council,
submitted a joint statement urging the newly
convened Violence Against Women in Indian Country
Task Force to consider the housing needs of survivors
of domestic violence on tribal land. According the
Department of Justice, 37.5% of American Indian and
Alaska Native women and 12.4% of American Indian
and Alaska Native men are raped, physically
assaulted, or stalked by an intimate partner in their
We know that the lack of safe and affordable housing
is one of the reasons that survivors choose to stay in
relationships, and we know that survivors experience
evictions and housing denials directly related to the
violence against them. There are very few, if any,
emergency shelters or safe transitional housing
options for survivors who choose to flee the violence
on most tribal lands. While survivors living outside of
the tribal land can utilize the housing protections of the
Violence Against Women Act and state law, these
protections do not apply to survivors living on tribal
The joint statement urges the task force to make
recommendations with respect to improving safe
housing options and protecting the housing rights of
survivors on tribal land. To view the statement, visit our
NLCHP thanks the Waitt Family Foundation and
the Freddie Mac Foundation for support of its
Domestic Violence Program.
||NLCHP Comments on Guidance for Homeless Students with Disabilities
In May's Edition of In Just Times, we shared a story
about the Office of Special Education and
Rehabilitative Services of the U.S. Department of
Education issuing a Question and Answer
document for guidance on implementing the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in
conjunction with the McKinney-Vento Homeless
Assistance Act to serve homeless children with
This document included significant language
suggested by NLCHP and its partners, the National Association for
the Education of Homeless Children & Youth
(NAEHCY) and the National Center on
NLCHP and NAEHCY felt there were a number of
areas in which the Guidance could be further clarified
to ensure all students receive the services to which
they are entitled, including enrollment, record
requests, and evaluations for highly mobile youth, and
have been working with the Department of Education
to promote these changes. However, with the new
school year approaching, the Department widely
promoted the Q&A to state homeless education
coordinators, and NLCHP and NAEHCY felt it was
necessary to issue a formal response to the Guidance.
NLCHP and NAEHCY will continue to work with the
Department to ensure the comments are integrated in
future drafts of the document, and in the meantime,
we hope the comments are read together with the
official guidance as school personnel interpret these
laws for the benefit of homeless children with
NLCHP thanks the Freddie Mac Foundation for
support of its Children & Youth Program.
||Victory for Hawaii's Homeless Children
In October 2007, Lawyers for Equal Justice, the
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and the law
firm of Alston, Hunt, Floyd & Ing, with technical
assistance from NLCHP, filed a class action lawsuit,
Kaleuati v. Tonda, on behalf of all homeless children
in Hawaii seeking to ensure access to education.
Following class certification and a temporary
injunction in February 2008, the state entered into
serious settlement discussions, resulting in a
settlement signed in August 2008.
Notable features of the settlement include:
$185,000 in attorneys fees; Dedicated personnel in
each school district and at each school to help
homeless parents and train all school personnel who
have contact with youth on identifying homeless youth;
Requirement to inquire of all parents withdrawing or
transferring children if the withdrawal is due to loss of
permanent housing due to economic hardship;
Community outreach including annual advertising in
mainstream newspapers and multi-lingual brochures;
Development of automatic prompting in computer
programs to inquire as to homeless status; A
dedicated bus making stops at frequently used
homeless congregation areas; Compensatory
education where the school fails to transport a
NLCHP has included links to the court documents on
its new wiki-website, officially launching later this
month, as a resource to other lawyers seeking to
protect the rights of homeless students.
||NLCHP to Celebrate World Habitat Day with Training on October 6
NLCHP will celebrate the annual UN World Habitat Day by hosting a
training session about housing and human rights on
October 6, from 2-3pm EDT.
The training will be a free teleconferenced introduction
to human rights as they apply to housing issues. In
keeping with the World Habitat Day theme, "XXX," the
training will cover issues like promoting affordable
housing using a human rights-based framework and
combating the criminalization of homelessness with
This training will serve as an introduction for people
new to the concepts and as a refresher for those
already familiar with them. It will also lay the basis for
more advanced discussions at NLCHP's National
Forum on the Human Right to Housing, coming in
Registration is available at NLCHP's events page.
NLCHP would like to thank the US Human Rights
Fund and the Butler Family Fund for their generous
support of the Human Rights program.
||Thanks to our Pro Bono Partners!
We are proud to report that in 2007, our pro bono
partner firms contributed almost $1.9 million worth of
pro bono work to NLCHP, doubling the amount of
pro bono support provided in 2006. Many of our most
significant victories were made possible by this
support from the private bar.
Visit our website for more information our
Lawyers' Executive Advisory Partners (LEAP) program.
NLCHP is a 501(c)(3) organization. Visit our website at www.nlchp.org! Contact us at (202) 638-2535 or email us at