HARRISBURG, A recent resolution introduced by state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., was adopted this week by the PA House and urges awareness about students experiencing homelessness.
House Resolution 1086 declares the week of Nov. 16, 2020, as Students Experiencing Homelessness Awareness Week and designates Nov. 20, 2020, as Red Shirt Day. The measure raises awareness of student homelessness and encourages students and their friends to seek help and support.
Bullock said in the 2018-19 school year, more than 39,000 school children experienced homelessness in Pennsylvania, an increase of 8% over the last school year and nearly 30% higher than the year before.
“Statistics like those are alarming and show the need for help and support,” Bullock said. “It is critical especially at a time like this when we are facing so many obstacles with Covid. If the numbers looked like that last year, there is no doubt they are even more dire now.”
Bullock explained that there is a federal law, the McKinney-Vento Act, that requires school districts to accommodate students who are experiencing homelessness to keep at least one aspect of their lives stable.
“This may mean providing accommodations for transportation from wherever the student is staying to providing additional services to ensure the student is able to keep up with their classmates,” she said.
State Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Phila., introduced S.R. 408 in the Senate, companion legislation that was also unanimously adopted.
“We are asking our communities to be aware of those kids who may be struggling and remember that homelessness doesn’t necessarily mean living on the streets,” he said. “It can be that child who always seems to want to spend the night with friends. The family who’s recently lost work and has moved to a motel. The LGBTQ youth who has come out and now has nowhere to go.”