Monday, December 1, 2014

Housing Authorities Tackle Educational Improvements in Neighborhoods Across the Country

Recognizing the importance of access to good quality education for public housing residents to move up and out of poverty, housing authorities across the country are investing in education related initiatives that boost student academic performance and support the improvement of nearby schools. In a recent publication entitled “Bringing Education Home: Housing Authorities and Learning Initiatives”, the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities has explored a number of education-related strategies and approaches that are being implemented and supported by housing authorities. 

The publication profiles initiatives and programs in 14 different cities.  It groups the initiatives in to four categories:

(1)   A Strong Start.  Focusing on early childhood education programs and engaging parents when their children are infants and toddlers, this category includes examples from Boston, Akron and New York.

(2)   Partnering for Success. Including examples from Tacoma, King County and Washington DC, this category highlights housing authorities that have partners with school districts successfully to collaborate around data sharing and leveraging community resources.

(3)   Opportunities Outside of School. Under this category, efforts in Denver, Seattle, Cambridge, Camden and Chicago are lifted up because they have strong after-school programs that have resulted in positive outcomes for students living in and around public housing.

(4)   Creating a Culture of Success. Focusing on ways in which housing authorities incentivize a strong priority on education, this category highlights strategies being implemented successfully in Milwaukee, Vancouver and Atlanta.

Earlier this year, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, in partnership with HUD, released a promising practice guide on how the Seattle Housing Authority, a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grantee, has been placing school improvements and student achievement at the center of neighborhood revitalization in the Seattle’s Yesler neighborhood. The guide highlights similar strategies to those outlined in CLPHA’s publication around forging strong education partnerships, creating effective after-school programming, and partnering with the school district around data sharing.

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