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AHEAD Act would assist youth in public housing across America

SUMMARY

  • The Affordable Housing for Educational Achievement Demonstration (AHEAD) Act, a bill proposed by Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington), would incentivize more partnerships between housing authorities and school districts with the aim of improving educational outcomes for students in public housing while also improving housing stability.

  • Information from the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC) indicates more than a third of children in low-income families either live in public housing or receive federal housing assistance. These children generally have worse outcomes for health and education and a higher risk of homelessness. Studies show educational outcomes improve when parents are more involved in education and when school attendance is good.

  • The AHEAD act would allow housing authorities to get funding for hiring education coordinators to run afterschool or mentoring programs, and would also connect residents to important support services. 

INSIGHT

This is just one of many ways the federal government can (and should) increase its support of afterschool programs, and the fact that it would focus on low-income families is especially important given these families are typically the most underserved when it comes to afterschool programming.

The AHEAD Act is based on programs that already exist in Washington state. Housing authorities in the state partnered with school systems, identifying households that were served both by the housing authority and individual schools, and also focused on issues with reading levels and attendance. The programs in that state have seen some significant success at improving reading, financial stability and student attendance and achievement.

Proponents of this legislature hope it can be a model for future federal funding for afterschool programming.

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