Case study released as VHA board votes to target Section 8 opening to families with children and health-burdened households
The study explores collaboration between public housing authorities and education service providers in three U.S. cities. Authors documented how housing solutions paired with strategies for academic success can help low-income families disrupt the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
Key elements of Vancouver’s partnership include the organizations’ efforts to reduce instability, particularly for homeless families, and increase attendance, a leading indicator of student academic achievement. Through a small pilot program, 10 families who met eligibility requirements received housing vouchers after committing to continued living within district boundaries. Families also agreed to work with VHA staff to move toward self-sufficiency and with VPS staff on attendance and school-engagement plans for their children.
In addition, the case study examines engagement with local stakeholders and partnerships with other local agencies, including the Healthy Living Collaborative of Southwest Washington and Council for the Homeless, which assumed administration of the voucher program and works with the school district’s national-award-winning Family-Community Resource Center staff to identify families in need of housing and issue vouchers.
The full case study is available at www.urban.org/research/publication/housing-and-education-partnerships-case-study-vancouver-washington.
Just weeks after the case study was published, the VHA board of commissioners voted to target its upcoming Section 8 opening to health-burdened households and families with children in Vancouver, Battle Ground and Evergreen public schools, which will refer families to VHA.
“I am excited that VHA and VPS developed collaborations that result in greater stability for households in need with school-age children,” said Roy Johnson, VHA executive director. “The partnership formed between VHA and VPS leverages the efforts of each organization. We hope that it will lead to more meaningful and life-changing differences for families in the future.”
Added Superintendent Steve Webb, “High levels of poverty and mobility are a toxic combination that negatively impact student achievement in our urban/suburban district. Partnerships such as the one with VHA are essential to the success of our Family-Community Resource Centers’ work to remove barriers to learning. We can’t do it alone.”
“Family-Community Resource Centers are helping to transform our district into community schools where families and the community interact as partners to strengthen opportunities for children to learn and grow,” said Alishia Topper, FCRC director of strategic partnerships. “The pilot and upcoming program with the Vancouver Housing Authority are perfect examples of how cross-sector partnerships can make an immediate and long-term impact on a student’s success.”