The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Education released an interagency policy statement on early childhood homelessness. As this new infographic shows, in the United States, infancy is the age at which individuals are most likely to enter shelter or transitional housing, followed by ages one to five, and homelessness during pregnancy and in the early years is harmful to children’s development.
The statement, announced at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth conference, recommends ways early childhood and housing providers at the local and state levels can collaborate to better meet the needs of pregnant women and families with young children who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. In addition to highlighting recent research and resources, the statement offers the following recommended action steps:
- Supporting a two-generation approach to meeting the needs of parents and young children experiencing homelessness.
- Enhancing integration of early childhood programs and systems with local homeless assistance systems’ “coordinated entry” processes.
- Improving, leveraging, and sharing data on early childhood homelessness.
The document offers specific recommended strategies and actions for early childhood providers, as well as for Continuum of Care, shelter, and housing providers in each of these three areas.