Homeless Grace Period Extension Letter

More than eighty organizations call on State Lawmakers to extend the Homeless Grace Period!

February 3, 2020

Dear Representatives and Senators:

As early learning, housing, education, and human services advocates, we want to thank you for your ongoing support of children and families experiencing homelessness. We are writing to ask you to maintain access to high quality child care for children experiencing homelessness. We currently allow a family experiencing homelessness a “Homeless Grace Period” of up to four months to meet the full eligibility requirements of the Working Connections Child Care subsidy. Data from the first two years of the program demonstrate that for 50% of families accessing the grace period, four months was not enough time. These children often are living in unpredictable, traumatic situations. We know that a nurturing, kind, safe, and stable child care environment is a critical support during the most important stage of their development. That’s why we are seeking your support in extending the Homeless Grace Period from 4 to 12 months.

While most parents experiencing homelessness are actively looking for work, for about half of families four months is not enough time to secure employment during the crisis of homelessness. In addition to job searching, families are trying to resolve homelessness in a market with little affordable housing and high rents, often simultaneously struggling with past evictions and debt, domestic violence, and behavioral and physical health issues.
There is also the reality that our state is in a child care crisis. For some families, it might take all four months just to find a child care provider able to meet the needs of their family. This can be especially difficult for families experiencing homelessness, who may need support with unique behavior or health needs, care during nonstandard business hours, and accessing transportation.

We cannot overstate the importance of child care in the lives of young children and their families experiencing homelessness. We know from research that high-quality early learning environments protect kids from the impacts of trauma and helps them build resilience. It can also disrupt the cycle of homelessness and intergenerational poverty. Homelessness also exacerbates current inequities in our education system, where six out of 10 students experiencing homelessness in Washington are students of color.

Extending the homeless grace period under Working Connections Child Care is a small change that would make all the difference in maintaining nurturing environments for the kids who need it most.
Thanks again for all your support for children and families experiencing homelessness. We hope you will support this policy and budget request.

Signed,

Ally Community Development
Amara
Bellevue School District
Black Community Impact Alliance
Blue Mountain Action Council
Building Changes
Capitol Hill Housing
Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington
Catholic Community Services
Center for Human Services
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Child Care Action Council
Child Care Aware of Washington
Child Care Resources
Childhaven
Children’s Home Society of Washington
Children's Alliance
Economic Opportunity Institute
El Centro de la Raza
Elty Consulting
Enterprise Community Partners
Enumclaw School District
Faith Action Network
Foundation for Tacoma Students
Friends of Youth
Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region
Highline Public Schools
Hopelink
Kindering
Kitsap Community Resources
League of Education Voters
Mary's Place
Metropolitan Development Council (MDC)
MomsRising
Multi-Service Center, Federal Way
National Association of Social Workers - WA Chapter
Navos Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Program
Northwest Harvest
Olympic ESD 114
Olive Crest- Safe Families for Children
Olympic College
Olympic Community Action Programs
OneAmerica
Parent Trust for Washington Children
Partners for Our Children
Parents for Student Success
Project Child Success
Renton Innovation Zone Partnership
Renton School District
Rural Resources Community Action
Safe Streets Campaign
Save the Children Action Network
SeaMar Community Health Clinics
Seattle Education Access
SEIU 925
Skagit Valley Family YMCA
Soar
Solid Ground
Somali Parents Education Board
Sound Child Care Solutions
Spokane County United Way
St Andrew's Episcopal Church
St. Vincent DePaul
Statewide Poverty Action Network
Tacoma Public Schools
The Arc of King County
Tukwila School District
United Way of Cowlitz & Wahkiakum Counties
United Way of King County
United Way of Mason County
United Way of Skagit County
United Way of Snohomish County
United Ways of the Pacific Northwest
Volunteers of America of Eastern Washington & Northern Idaho
WA State Community Action Partnership
Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Washington Defender Association
Washington State Alliance of YMCAs
Washington State Budget and Policy Center
Wenatchee School District
Wellspring Family Services
Washington State Assoc. of Head Start and ECEAP
YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties
YouthCare

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