Bold Leadership Series: Head Start on Housing
Welcome to the Bold Leadership Series!
A Head Start on Housing for America’s Families
Like all states, Connecticut’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs are required to aggressively seek out and prioritize homeless children for enrollment so that children can thrive in the classroom despite their family’s challenges. Although nearly 4 percent of enrolled children are precariously housed, agencies rarely have resources to address housing problems.
The National Center for Housing and Child Welfare (NCHCW) worked with the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood’s Head Start State Collaboration Office to attack these housing problems head-on. Beginning in the fall of 2021, NCHCW began convening state leaders to establish a partnership between the Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) and the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) to gain access to permanent housing subsidies and roll-out a “Head Start on Housing” landlord recruitment campaign in February 2022.
This pilot program armed three agencies within Connecticut’s sophisticated network of Head Start and Early Head Start programs with immediate access to the housing resources they need to help families escape homelessness. On June 13, 2022, Gov. Lamont announced a statewide expansion of this “on demand” Housing Choice Voucher program for Head Start households. This presentation will offer insight on how this extraordinary pilot program was established and offer tips on how to bring this innovation to your state.
Strengthening America’s families through affordable housing. Head Start on Housing Press Conference news articles:
Speaker: Ruth Anne White
Ruth White is co-founder and executive director of the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare and former director of Housing and Homelessness for CWLA. Ruth works closely with professionals and people personally impacted by social programs to improve public policy to ease access to economic resources and to reduce government intervention into peoples’ lives. Since beginning her work to expand housing and self-sufficiency resources for families and youth involved with child welfare and early childhood education programming, Ruth has successfully advocated for over $300 million in funding for new housing subsidies and services.
In 2020, Ruth partnered with Connecticut Head Start Association to create the Early Childhood Housing Outreach team and successfully opened a conduit to immediate access for Housing Choice Vouchers for Head Start and Early Head Start Families. In 2018, Ruth partnered with current and former foster youth from ACTION Ohio to design and deliver the youth-written Fostering Stable Housing Opportunity proposal directly to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The HUD Leadership Team adopted the on-demand, synchronized, and revolutionary distribution mechanism for housing choice vouchers as the basis for the Foster Youth to Independence Initiative in 2019. Ruth is a certified Assisted Housing Manager and holds a master’s degree in social administration from Case Western Reserve University and a bachelor’s degree in social work from The Ohio State University. She is currently a doctoral candidate and professor at the Catholic University of America.