Parent review feedback summary

  • Parent reviewers overwhelmingly support Head Start on Housing and feel it would dramatically improve the lives of families.
  • Due to the complex nature of subsidized housing, parent reviewers raised many questions about the technical details of the program. Questions such as “Does this program have access to local HUD complexes, assist with new vouchers, subsidies, and rent payments?” and “Do you have to have a case to get involved with this program?” were raised. Better clarity and improved expansion of Head Start on Housing could make this program more accessible to families in need, without requiring an active case to receive support.
  • Overall, parent reviewers reaffirm that stable housing is necessary for children to thrive, and programs such as Head Start on Housing that combine other resources for families (e.g. education, peer support, childcare) are a great offering.

What is the intervention?

Head Start on Housing is an initiative in the state of Connecticut that focuses on connecting families participating in Head Start programming (early childhood education) to housing resources. Kickstarted by the National Center for Housing & Child Welfare, Head Start on Housing addresses the missing component of Head Start programming: housing. Head Start dates back to the 1960s, where it was developed as part of an anti-poverty initiative. It’s primary focus has been on promoting school readiness for infants, toddlers, and preschool aged children as well as offering support, resources, and community to each participating family. One of the most pressing concerns for low-income families, and a risk factor for engagement with the child welfare system, is stable housing.

The foundation of the program is not just enrollment of low-income families in Head Start programs, but ensuring frontline workers have proper training on housing resources so that they can be another avenue to help families experiencing instability or homelessness. Within six months of program launch 25 families had been housed. Head Start on Housing is a reflection of the State of Connecticut’s interwoven relationship between state agencies and organizations with a shared vision and goal: keeping families safely together.

The other critical component of Head Start on Housing is the relationship management with landlords in the community. Head Start on Housing connects with landlords interested in providing a pathway to sustainable housing to support family and community wellbeing.

What makes it a Bright Spot?

Lack of financial resources remains a top cause for families encountering the child welfare system. Head Start on Housing takes advantage of early childhood education and case management, pairing it with housing. Children need safe homes with structure, and when stable housing is provided, the child and parents are better off. Head Start on Housing is not just transactional between Head Start staff and families, but instead is a months-to-years long relationship where each family is seen and heard. The National Center for Housing & Child Welfare hopes to provide access to housing for not just parents and children at risk of separation, but also for young people who have aged out of the system and have nowhere to turn.

What steps can you take?

  • Take inventory of housing resources you currently have available in your community, county, and state.
  • Help facilitate the connection of resources to families enrolled in Head Start by learning more about Head Start on Housing.


These downloadable resources may help provide additional context and information about this family-approved resource for systems change.

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