Legislation to Help Homeless Students Heard in the House

The House Appropriations Committee heard legislation from Representative Jake Fey (D-Tacoma) to help equip schools and students with the tools they need to combat youth homelessness. The hearing was packed with supporters of the legislation.

“We can’t expect kids to do homework when they don’t have a home,” said Fey. “We have to do better for Washington kids and families.”

The bill, HB 1682, would establish two grant programs: one providing funds to organizations that connect homeless kids to stable housing, and another to school districts that help gather information on Washington’s homeless student population. The data will be used by Superintendent of Public Instruction to design policies and programs that better serve homeless youth.

The legislation was inspired by innovative work being done at McCarver Elementary in Tacoma. McCarver has instituted several programs to improve the educational outcomes of its students who lack a permanent home, including long-term housing placement and rental assistance through the Tacoma Housing Authority.

“The success of McCarver Elementary has shown that we can build a brighter future for every student in Washington. It’s time to pass this bill and give communities across the state the tools they need to help close the opportunity gap,” said Fey.

The bill passed the House of Representative last session with a bipartisan 82-16 margin, but did not receive a vote in the Senate.