Sen. Murray introduced the Affordable Housing for Educational Achievement Demonstration (AHEAD) Act to encourage housing authorities, school districts, and community partners to work together in unprecedented ways to coordinate and improve educational and housing outcomes for children
AHEAD Act would help keep students permanently housed, improve attendance, and reduce learning loss
Sen. Murray: “I’m proud of the innovative partnerships to support students who are experiencing homelessness here in Washington state. The AHEAD Act would help to bring these unique solutions to communities across the country and target more resources to increase educational success for our nation’s most at-risk children.”
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Education Committee, joined students, parents, housing authority members and advocates to unveil the Affordable Housing for Educational Achievement Demonstration (AHEAD) Act, which would incentivize housing authorities and school districts to work together to address and prevent family homelessness. Based on successful programs in Washington state, the AHEAD Act would encourage strong partnerships to help families, schools, and community partners work together to keep families permanently housed and improve educational outcomes for children experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.
“We know that when children are hungry, or sick, or don’t have a place to sleep, it’s harder for them to learn,” said Sen. Murray. “We need housing and education partnerships to work together to increase educational stability and provide a supportive environment for students and their families. I’m proud of the innovative partnerships to support students who are experiencing homelessness here in Washington state. The AHEAD Act would help to bring these unique solutions to communities across the country and target more resources to increase educational success for our nation’s most at-risk children.”
One of Sen. Murray’s top priorities is helping children and youth experiencing homelessness succeed in school and life. Last year, Sen. Murray sent a letter to housing authorities and school districts in Washington state asking for their expertise on how to address child and family homelessness in a coordinated fashion. The AHEAD Act builds on best practices from partnerships across the state, including in King County, Seattle, Tacoma, and Vancouver, and provides resources to implement them in communities nationwide.
“Across the country, housing authorities and their local partners have developed innovative approaches that pair housing resources with schools to support academic success for poor children. Sen. Murray is listening to these communities and the AHEAD legislation will enable these successes to be taken to scale,” said King County Housing Authority Executive Director Stephen Norman about the bill. “There is no more important investment in our future than our children – and this legislation is a wise and effective down payment on that future.”
“The AHEAD Act recognizes what we have learned in Washington State – that there are ways to spend a housing dollar not only to prevent or end a family’s homelessness but also to help their children succeed in school and to promote the success of schools that serve low-income children,” said Tacoma Housing Authority Executive Director Michael Mirra. “When it works it is a very good use of a housing dollar. We are grateful for Senator Murray’s work to extend this lesson nationwide.”
”The AHEAD Act will provide additional support for the local efforts to stabilize the lives of youth that are facing homelessness so they can have the opportunity to finish their education and plan their future with goals that are presently outside their reach,”added Vancouver Housing Authority Executive Director Roy Johnson.
Introduced on October 5th, the AHEAD Act has already been endorsed by 50 education and housing groups, including the Council for Large Public Housing Authorities, SchoolHouse Connection, National Education Association, Results for America, Low Income Investment Fund, National Housing Trust, AASA: The School Superintendents Association, and First Focus Campaign for Children.
The text of the AHEAD Act can be found HERE.
Fact sheet on the AHEAD Act can be found HERE.