At the October 19th Board Meeting, the board approved a resolution to recognize and raise awareness of the issue of youth homelessness. The goal of the resolution is to highlight the issue of youth homelessness within the county and our schools. Currently, Contra Costa County has over 3,000 children and youth living in homeless situations, as reported by the county school districts, charter schools and the Contra Costa Council on Homelessness. This includes children ages 0-5 and students in grades Kindergarten through 12.
In California, more than 298,000 youth up to the age of 18 experience homelessness each year. During November all students, schools and community members are encouraged to engage in discussions on this topic to raise awareness.
Below are some suggested activities for school sites:
- Send a flyer home with students or create a display to inform students and families of homeless education rights and resources available at your school and in Contra Costa County.
- Make a presentation to school teachers, staff and board members to raise awareness of homelessness in your community or school district.
- Organize a food drive and donate to the local food bank or pantry.
- Make a donation or volunteer at a local shelter.
- Participate in Contra Costa Community Donation Day on November 19th.
The Contra Costa County Office of Education (Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program) coordinates the following:
- Provides technical assistance regarding the proper identification, enrollment, and service needs of homeless students and their families.
- Conducts professional development trainings for school personnel and community agencies regarding the rights and responsibilities of homeless students.
- Educates students, parents and guardians on their educational rights, and promotes their participation in school-related activities.
- Facilitates the school enrollment process to ensure equal access to educational services, free-or-reduced price meals, tutoring or other programs.
- Assists unaccompanied youth with enrollment procedures, school placement options, and retrieval of records.
- Provides assistance with transportation, backpacks, school supplies and clothing.
- Provides medical, dental, and mental health referrals, in addition to other school/community services.
- Provides assistance to specialized populations of homeless students, including pre-schoolers, homeless teen parents, children with special needs, and unaccompanied youth.
For more information, contact CCCOE’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program at (925) 942-3300.