- Along with conducting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids to round up undocumented migrants, beginning as early as this past weekend, the Trump administration is also considering a plan that would no longer allow “mixed-status” families — which are families whose members have different citizenship or immigration statuses and can include noncitizens — to live in public housing. Education officials say the move would increase student homelessness and contribute to other negative outcomes, such as absenteeism.
- “As educators, we know well the terrible harm students experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity suffer,” Debra Duardo, superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last week. “These children face school attendance issues, trauma and chronic stress, instability in academics including reduced educational outcomes, health and mental health related concerns and behavioral issues, at home and in the school setting.”
- LACOE includes 80 districts and more than 300 charter schools. Roughly 70% of mixed status families receiving HUD assistance have at least one ineligible parent, according to LACOE's letter. During the 2017-18 school year, over 70,000 students experienced homelessness, Duardo wrote, adding that Trump's proposed rule would force mixed-status families to either separate — so the citizens can continue receiving a housing subsidy — or opt out of assistance.
According to a May HUD document, the rule “assures that housing assistance is specifically targeted to the eligible households as required by the law.” The agency estimates that about 25,000 families would be affected, with almost three-fourths of them being concentrated in California, Texas and New York. The families receive roughly $8,400 per year in housing subsidies.
Research shows that unstable housing arrangements can lead to poor academic outcomes for students because they are more likely to be chronically absent when they are in and out of shelters, having to change schools because of an eviction, or doubling up in another family’s home.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which requires districts to identify homeless students, designate a liaison to coordinate between schools and social services for homeless students and provide transportation to keep students in their school of origin if that’s in their best interests, applies to undocumented students as well. But that law doesn’t provide housing assistance.
As a result, if the new rule goes into effect, districts may see an increase in students that qualify for McKinney-Vento services. It's unclear how many immigrant or mixed-status families with young and school-age children are homeless, but anecdotal reports suggest that many immigrant families, especially undocumented, face increased risks of homelessness.