Dear friend of Coleman,
Earlier this week, the School Board unanimously passed a policy making SF schools among the first in the country required to address student and family homelessness. The policy, authored by School Board Commissioner Matt Haney, will provide support, coordination, and delivery of programs/services to meet the needs of the over 2,400 homeless children, youth, and their families in SFUSD. Coleman cosponsored a pre-vote rally where we spoke in support of the much-needed policy.
Some context: An unaffordability crisis that has resulted in the displacement of families from their homes throughout The City has also factored into an increasing homelessness rate among youth in San Francisco, where one in every 25 students was homeless in the 2015-16 school year. Particularly affected are the school district’s immigrant populations. More than half of The City’s homeless students are English Language Learners, and 1,093 homeless students are Latino.
More about the new policy: The Resolution requires more rigorous data collection on the social and emotional needs of homeless students, tracking their academic outcomes and creating partnerships between the school district and city departments, such as the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Transportation services and resources for homeless students at schools will also be bolstered. The resolution requires that an SFUSD designee report to the Board of Ed at least annually on homeless students’ attendance, test results, as well as retention and graduation rates. Based on the data collected, the school district will be tasked with developing strategies to better support homeless students in their education. In an effort to ensure stability at school for a student experiencing homelessness, the resolution also directs the school district to address enrollment barriers, such as missed application deadlines. Barriers such as required records, like proof of immunizations, academic documents or residency, will be temporarily lifted to make it easier for homeless students to enroll.
Thank you Commissioner Haney for leading the School Board to take meaningful action on this critical issue affecting our youth, families, communities and schools. And thank you South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN) for leading the community mobilization.
The number of students in San Francisco struggling to learn and succeed while homeless and hungry is shameful. It is the responsibility of every city institution and agency designed to serve them to step up, and more effectively coordinate, to meet the basic needs of our city’s children and youth.