Y-HEAR in Action
From 2020-2022, a youth-led Y-PLAN partnership at Oakland High Law and Social Justice Academy (LSJ) identified a third to half of Oakland High students as at risk of homelessness or already unhoused. Extensive surveys of their peers and teachers revealed structural impediments to unhoused student success, including academic support, transportation, and mental health. Though slightly under half of the students surveyed had personally experienced homelessness or knew someone who had, these youth built policy ideas from shared experiences of vulnerability and hard-earned local knowledge.
In our first two years collaborating with Oakland High school students and CC+S PLUS Graduate Student Fellows around solutions to student homelessness, we have engaged more than 150 young people to conduct research and brainstorm solutions to this crisis.
These partnerships, which we plan to scale in coming years, have already achieved major milestones along our three core components of Y-HEAR – Curriculum, Collaboration, and Communication – as cataloged below.
1. Curriculum: Activating College and Career Readiness
Y-PLAN students and partners at Oakland High School Law and Social Justice Academy (LSJ) launched a two year Y-PLAN action research initiative focused on improving conditions and resources for unhoused students and families facing housing insecurity.
2. Collaboration: Leveraging and Aligning Policy and Action
Through the Y-HEAR initiative, CC+S is forming partnerships with a range of local, regional and statewide government agencies and advocacy groups.
To date, these collaborations include:
- California Department of Education – Homeless Education Services Office
- Three Homeless Education Technical Assistance Centers HETAC: Contra Costa County Office of Education, LA County Office of Education, San Diego Office of Education
- John Burton Advocates for Youth
- Institute of Educational Leadership and their Community Schools Coalition
- UCLA Center for Community Schooling
3. Communication: Lifting Youth Vision and Voice
Y-PLAN and PLUS student scholars have partnered with public agencies, advocates, civic leaders and university faculty, staff to engage in a wide range of impactful communications efforts including (a) a number of public speaking events and presentation at local and nationwide venues and (b) publishing a range of documents for the public.
- Investing in Youth as Community Leaders, report in Community Schooling Journal, UCLA Center for Community Schooling
- California CDC Homelessness Education Technical Assistance Center (HETAC) Regional and Statewide Webinar – Youth Engagement: Peer-to-Peer Solutions for McKinney-Vento Policies and Practices