One night on the street is too many. Quick intervention is a necessary safety net for our Bethel-4J students who find themselves alone and without a place to stay. Now we need to focus on adding effective prevention strategies that are vital to the safety of our students who do not have a parent or guardian.
The problem: Youth who are “new” to the streets are more likely to become chronically homeless if we do not intervene within 15 nights. 311 of the over 1200 students experiencing homelessness in Eugene were identified as unaccompanied minors. 90 of them dropped out of school last year. 150 runaways were reported to the Eugene Police Department last year.
The solution: The 15th Night is a broad community partnership designed to prevent youth from going out on the street and to intervene quickly if they do. We are leveraging and aligning existing community resources in innovative ways to help keep kids off the streets.
So, what’s the plan? Engage the entire community. Mobilize and empower youth. Utilize existing services, programs, and resources. Implement innovative solutions using technology. Measure outcomes to know that we are moving the needle.
- For every $1 spent on youth interventions that address homelessness, the community saves $4.12, according to a New Avenues for Youth study.
- For more than 300 of our Bethel-Eugene 4J students who do not have a parent or guardian to support them, or a permanent place to call home, the cost is unacceptable — it takes away their childhood, sense of trust, education and hope.
- No Eugene youth will drop out of school due to homelessness.
- Our community will rise to the expectation that Eugene youth should never have to navigate school and life alone.
- Eugene is a culture of caring and understanding for our youth experiencing homelessness.
- Eugene residents know how to intervene on behalf of a youth who has run away or experiences homelessness.
- All young people in Eugene learn about the dangers of living on the street.
- All Eugene youth know how to get help and find safe alternatives to the street.
The McKinney-Vento Act Focuses On Educational Rights of Students Experiencing Homelessness
- The right to receive a free and appropriate public education.
- To continue attending the school they were in when they became homeless or their neighborhood school.
- To enroll in school immediately.
- To access the same programs and services as other students.
- Automatically eligible for free lunches.
- Transportation assistance if needed.
Students are eligible if they are lacking a fixed, regular or adequate residence. Examples include “doubling up” – which means living with another person or family due to hardship; shelter or transitional housing; motel or hotel; living in a vehicle; camping or couch-surfing.
McKinney-Vento liaisons are educational advocates for families who help ensure they have access to the same educational opportunities as all students.