Housing Organizations

Housing agencies nationwide provide homes for more than 1 million children younger than nine-years-old from low-income families. We know that education can provide an opportunity for children to break the cycle of poverty. Housing authorities and affordable housing developers are uniquely positioned to address chronic absence. They can:

  • Convey the importance of going to school every day: Infuse messaging about good attendance in as many opportunities as possible, particularly during back-to-school family events. Help make the connection between attendance and a family’s hopes and dreams for their child.

  • Help parents get kids to school: In housing developments, ask your site coordinators and property managers to keep an eye out for children who aren’t in school. Talk to families about why students are missing class to understand barriers to attendance. Consider developing partnerships with public health, transportation, or other agencies to help families overcome common challenges that can prevent students from getting to school. These challenges include asthma, mold or environmental hazards, trauma, and unsafe pathways to school. Engage residents in locally supported solutions, such as forming a walking school bus to bring students safely to school. 

  • Leverage after-school and summer programming to improve school attendance: Work with after-school and summer programming staff to engage in messaging about the importance of attendance including helping families know when school starts.

  • Maintain housing stability throughout the school year: When possible, schedule changes in housing vouchers or public housing for summer, so that children don’t have to move mid-year.

  • Partner with schools: Create data-sharing agreements with local school districts that allow for tracking grades, test scores and attendance for students in your projects or housing vouchers. Or join a coalition taking a community-wide approach to reducing chronic absence.

  • Engage community-based service providers: Share attendance materials and resources with the community-based organizations that provide services to the families living in housing.

Case Statement: Why Chronic Absence Matters for Housing Organizations.

The Office of Head Start released a four-page tip sheet, Caring for the Health and Wellness of Children Experiencing Homelessness.

Success Story: HOPE SF improved attendance in SF’s most distressed public housing complexes

Webinar: Attendance Works joins a panel to discuss chronic absence within the public housing context and what works to improve attendance with our youngest housing residents.

The Campaign for Grade Level Reading works with public housing agencies to address chronic absence

Throughout the month of September, organizations and communities throughout the country use Attendance Awareness Month to launch the school year off with a strong start and build awareness of the importance of attendance. Join with schools and communities and find details and strategies about hosting events and spreading the message about attendance.

Count Us In! Toolkit