Unaccompanied Youth

Homeless Youth Handbook – Texas: Legal Issues and Options

Texas Appleseed released the Homeless Youth Handbook for Texas in early December, 2016. The Handbook may be found at www.homelessyouth.org/Texas. Additionally, you may go to the “Contact Us” tab on the handbook website to order a hard copy of the handbook or to get a poster advertising the handbook that includes a QR code for… Read more »

UNDERSTANDING YOUTH RIGHTS: Helping Providers Navigate the Laws and Policies Affecting Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

The laws about runaway, homeless, or unaccompanied youth can seem to be confusing and vague. While physically apart from their parent or guardian, homeless youth lack certain rights that can lead to confusion about legal issues of consent, eligibility for emancipation, parents’ rights, accessing shelter, public education, health care, and public benefits. Recognizing these challenges,… Read more »

Youth Engagement Toolkit

Youth engagement is a strategy to value and include the insights of youth in service planning and delivery. Often youth and their families know best what they need and how to make services work for them. This toolkit, developed by the Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) addresses the following topics: What is Youth Engagement?… Read more »

The Financial Aid Toolkit

https://financialaidtoolkit.ed.gov/tk/about/how-to.jsp The Financial Aid Toolkit provides school counselors and other college access mentors with information and resources about federal student aid. This site contains material about different types of financial aid, the FAFSA, outreach, and training opportunities. You’ll find fact sheets, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and other resources to share with students to help them learn… Read more »

Federal Guidance and Resources to Support Completion and Success in Higher Education

http://www.ed.gov/category/keyword/resources-support-completion http://www2.ed.gov/documents/press-releases/federal-supports-college-access-completion.pdf The U.S. Department of Education – in collaboration with partners from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor – released a fact sheet on New Federal Guidance and Resources to Support Completion and Success in Higher Education and an accompanying federal interagency letter entitled Aligning… Read more »

Adolescent Well-Being after Experiencing Homelessness

https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/205256/adolescents.pdf The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released a report entitled Adolescent Well-Being after Experiencing Homelessness. The report, based on data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Family Options Study, provides a descriptive analysis of the experiences of the study’s 791 focal children. Key findings of the report include:… Read more »

Youth Specific FAQs for Coordinated Entry

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/fysb/resource/youth-specific-faq-coordinated-entry-20160824 The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a new resource entitled Youth Specific FAQs for Coordinated Entry.  Coordinated Entry (CE) is a process implemented by local HUD Continuums of Care (CoCs) to ensure that all people experiencing a housing crisis have fair… Read more »


http://youth.gov/youth-topics/runaway-and-homeless-youth/resources-young-parents-children Youth.gov, the federal government’s online portal that provides information on funding and implementing evidence-based youth programs, has developed a webpage focused on young parents experiencing homelessness and their children. Practitioners, policymakers, and young parents can use this online database to find resources about programs, guidance, practices, and supports available to young homeless parents and… Read more »

Addressing Housing Insecurity and Living Costs in Higher Education: A Guidebook for Colleges and Universities

https://www.huduser.gov/portal/publications/HousingInsecurityInHigherEd.html The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in partnership with the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, released a resource entitled Addressing Housing Insecurity and Living Costs in Higher Education: A Guidebook for Colleges and Universities. With high rates of college enrollment despite stagnant or declining family incomes and increasing college costs, today many college… Read more »

Better Make Room

https://bettermakeroom.org/our-story Better Make Room is about creating a space for all the great things you’ll do next. It’s about staking a claim, forging a path and lighting the way for others just like you. And it’s a lot more fun to get there together. The site includes: Tools –  developed by the U.S. Department of… Read more »

Sample Forms Related to the Dispute Resolution Process under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (from TASB)

This document was developed by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), and contains forms and procedures for LEAs related to the dispute of student eligibility for services under the McKinney-Vento homeless education provisions. The document contains two forms: Exhibit A: Dispute of Eligibility, School Selection, or Enrollment Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act—3 pages… Read more »

Foster Care Transition Toolkit

The U.S. Department of Education has released its Foster Care Transition Toolkit, a resource aimed at providing useful supports for foster youth pursuing college and career opportunities. While geared towards foster youth, many of the resources are equally appropriate for homeless youth, as foster and homeless youth often face similar challenges when transitioning to college… Read more »

Health Coverage for Homeless and At-Risk Youth

Homeless and at-risk youth are likely to be eligible for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (often referred to as the ACA).The ACA vastly simplifies and expands access to affordable health care, including for low-income and homeless youth, and allows states to expand eligibility for Medicaid, a health care program for low-income individuals.

Avoiding Common FAFSA Errors

This chart lists the most common errors many students, including homeless students and students coming out of foster care, make when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).These errors stop the processing of the application and delay the disbursement of funds students need to pay college expenses. The right-hand column provides suggestions for avoiding these mistakes.

FAFSA Application and Verification Guide Excerpt: Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (Glossary)

A financial aid administrator can also determine if a student is an unaccompanied youth who is either homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless. It is important to examine students’ living situations and claims on a case-by-case basis. If a student does not have and cannot get documentation from any of the authorities given on page 26 of the Application and Verification Guide, you must deter-mine if she is an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.

Helping Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Access College Financial Aid (FAFSA Brief)

McKinney-Vento school district liaisons, service providers, and unaccompanied homeless youth should work with financial aid administrators to have unaccompanied youth designated as independent. In addition, unaccompanied youth may need assistance overcoming common barriers that students face in trying to fill out the FAFSA, such as not having all the documents they need, not knowing how to fill out the form, and being overwhelmed by the amount of information the application requests.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Access to SNAP Written Report

Texas Hunger Initiative:  The purpose of this report is to provide an in depth look into the UHY population and the barriers they face in accessing SNAP, as well as to provide recommended next step to address these barriers at the local, state, and federal levels. The main parts of this report include a review of existing literature and relevant policies, information gathered from a survey in which individuals working with homeless youth indicate their familiarity with youth SNAP eligibility in addition to barriers they have observed, and proposed recommendations and next steps to help address the identified barriers.

FAFSA Application and Verification Guide (AVG)

The AVG provides information to college financial aid administrators and counselors who help students with the process of seeking federal student aid for post-secondary education. Unaccompanied homeless youth (UHY) are considered independent students for purposes of applying for federal student aid. This means that UHY do not need to include a parent signature or information… Read more »

Homeless Unaccompanied Youth Scenario Chart

The chart below reviews some common situations that occur for which the school district must determine MV eligibility and/or unaccompanied youth status for a student.  An “X” has been placed under each column heading that applies to the student’s designation for each of the scenarios.  For each scenario there are four (4) possible outcomes in this chart:  (1) the student is only MV eligible; (2) the student only meets the criteria for an unaccompanied youth; (3) the student meets the criteria for both MV and unaccompanied youth designations; and (4) the student does not meet the criteria for either MV or unaccompanied youth designations, in which case there will not be an “X” in either box.

New Help for Children Raised by Grandparents and Other Relatives

New Help for Children Raised by Grandparents and Other Relatives: Questions and Answers About the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, is intended to help ensure full and prompt implementation of the improvements in the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act for children being raised by grandparents and other relatives. It was prepared by the organizations listed below, many of whom have been working individually and together for a number of years to support children being raised by grandparents and other relatives.


Unaccompanied Youth Toolkits

The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)has developed three unaccompanied youth toolkits. Each Toolkit contains a wealth of information about supporting unaccompanied youth in school and out, with a special focus on helping unaccompanied youth complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) when applying for aid for higher education.

The Toolkits consist of 1-2 page briefs on a variety of topics, including:

  • Protocol for Enrolling Unaccompanied Youth in School: Whom Do We Call?
  • Unaccompanied Youth Identification Checklist and Tools to launch an identification event in schools and shelters (“MV-FAFSA Week”)
  • The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act Basics
  • FAFSA Basics and Practical Tips
  • Access to Services Tip Sheets (Medicaid, TANF, Social Security, SNAP, shelter)

Each Toolkit is designed for a special audience that often does not receive the information they need to be full partners in serving unaccompanied youth.
Click on the links below to access the each of the toolkits:

High School Counselors and McKinney-Vento Liaisons
Shelters and Service Providers
College and University Financial Aid Administrators

College on a Budget: Smart Tips for Saving Money

This College Affordability Guide and website provides information on financial assistance programs sponsored by the government and community organizations that can help lighten your worries about your college debt load. What’s more, there may be strategies that you haven’t yet considered—selling textbooks, visiting the dental school, using a Zipcar—for cutting costs. Hundreds of options are offered that will help you control your living expenses. Click here to access the site.