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Homeless Children Crisis is a Civil Rights Issue

Join U.S. Attorney David Hickton and Pittsburgh Steelers Brett Keisel
as They Address, “Education:  A Civil Right for Homeless Children”

The National Center on Family Homelessness reported in December that an average of 1.6 million (one in 45) children were homeless in 2010 at any given time, 42% of whom were six years old or younger. With these numbers, it goes without saying that this has become an urgent issue. Families with children are a rapidly growing component of the homeless population.

Children experiencing homelessness face stressful circumstances, which put them at a higher risk of developing health, social, and behavioral problems. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they, in turn, find hardships in education. The frequent moves and difficult living conditions mean they are in great peril of falling behind their peers, often forced to repeat a grade. In addition, they tend to score significantly lower on standardized tests. Education is critical to bettering circumstances and preparing children and youth for the road ahead, which is why these statistics are so disheartening.

Many of these children are not identified, and therefore do not receive the help they’re entitled to by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which recognizes a person as homeless if he or she lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. By definition, this even includes those who live “doubled-up” with family members or friends. Because of a lack of knowledge about whom this definition includes, many children are left unidentified and thus without the assistance McKinney-Vento can provide.

To raise awareness within the community about homelessness and its effects on children and youth, Homeless Children’s Education Fund has organized a press conference with U.S. Attorney David Hickton and Pittsburgh Steelers Brett Keisel. Hickton has said, “The homeless children crisis is a civil rights issue. Homeless children deserve equal protection and equal opportunity under the law.”

Hickton will further stress the desperate need for education in the lives of these vulnerable children and youth, and Keisel, who, with his wife Sarah, has been a strong supporter and partner with HCEF, will share his concern and commitment to this issue. We hope this will be an opportunity to not only educate the community, but engage them in advocacy. It will also strive to encourage families experiencing homelessness to contact their school’s “homeless liaison,” a designated person in each school district who assists in obtaining equal educational opportunities for children facing homelessness.

If you are interested in attending this press conference, please see the details below:

Date and Time:
Friday, February 10, 2012
10:00AM until 11:00AM
Light refreshments will be served.

The Circuit Center Ballroom at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) complex on the Southside of Pittsburgh (located at 5 Hot Metal Street Pittsburgh, PA 15203).

The facility is easily accessible from all directions and parking is available at the Circuit Center lot, as well as at the nearby “Hot Metal” or “Ingot” parking garages (both at the corner of Sydney and 28th Street).

Contact Zach Marsh at the Homeless Children’s Education Fund: or (412) 562-0154.
Deadline for reservations:
February 9, 2012

Posted on Filed under HCEF

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