Mar 09

Homeless Student Stability and Opportunity Gap Act Signed into Law!

After years of advocacy and community partnership, HB-1682, the Homeless Student Stability and Opportunity Gap Act has been signed into law. This bill is historic in addressing the needs of the 35,511 students identified as experiencing homelessness in Washington state. 

Key features of HB-1682 include:

State-Level School-Housing Partnerships

HB-1682 will provide state dollars to the Department of Commerce to administer a grant program that links homeless students and their families with stable housing in the student's own school district. Housing assistance may include: rental assistance, transportation assistance, emergency shelter, and housing stability case management.

State-Level Investment in Students Experiencing Homelessness

HB-1682 will provide state dollars to OSPI that will match existing federal dollars used to implement the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act. This funding is used to increase the identification of students experiencing homelessness and the capacity of school districts to provide them support, including education liaisons.

Building Point of Contact

HB-1682 will require school districts that have identified over 10 unaccompanied students to establish a point of contact in each middle school and high school in the district to connect students to the school district homeless student liaison.

Access to Routine Healthcare Services

HB-1682 will make Washington the 29th state in the nation to allow unaccompanied students access to routine healthcare services. Specifically, school nurses, school counselors, and homeless student liaisons may authorize services when parents are not available.

Thank you to the coalition of advocacy organizations, homeless liaisons, and fierce young leaders that made sure this bill became law, including, but not limited to: Columbia Legal Services, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance; Tacoma Housing Authority; Auburn Youth Resources; Youth Women's Christian Association; Washington State Board of Education; Washington Education Association; Washington State School Directors' Association; League of Education Voters; United Ways of Pacific Northwest; Campion Advocacy Fund; Raikes Foundation; Building Changes; Ryan’s House for Youth; Washington Coalition for Homeless Youth Advocacy; Seattle/King County Housing Coalition; Rod’s House; Children’s Alliance; Faith Action Network; King County Housing Authority; Firesteel; and the students of Denny International Middle School.