Students need stability in order to thrive. Unfortunately, young scholars in the highest-need communities often face some of the greatest obstacles to finding stability, and recently the federal government has proposed a new rule to make it even harder.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has proposed a new federal housing rule called “FR-6124-P-01 Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status,” that may result in the loss of stable housing for thousands of families accessing public housing and Section 8 assistance. The proposed rule would prohibit “mixed status” families — households with both documented and undocumented family members — from receiving public housing assistance. This rule is a direct attack on immigrant communities and families living in poverty, and we think it is critical for residents of Los Angeles to stand with “mixed status” and undocumented families to oppose this proposed rule.
As a result of this proposed rule, an estimated 55,000 children nationwide, including hundreds of students in the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools network, are at risk of losing the stability they need to be successful. At a community meeting with the Watts Gang Task Force last month, HACLA (Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles) asked community members to speak up and oppose this new rule. HACLA estimates that nearly one-third of households in Los Angeles public housing are of “mixed status” and that over 11,000 residents in Los Angeles could be turned out on the streets if this rule goes into effect. It was both symbolic and sobering that we learned this information at Edwin Markham Middle School, a traditional public middle school in Watts managed by the Partnership, where we educate students aged 10-14 who live in four neighborhood public housing developments. If this rule goes into effect, hundreds of our young scholars and families from Markham, Joyner Elementary, Jordan High and other schools may be evicted or may proactively flee for fear of repercussions.
We at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, along with district leaders at LA Unified and HACLA, have asked HUD to withdraw this proposed change. We invite others to do the same by submitting a comment by the deadline of July 9. California leaders have issued a statement urging withdrawal of the proposed rule and dozens of partners with #KeepFamiliesTogether have organized resources and an online template for anyone wishing to support the movement to oppose this proposal.
The Partnership works relentlessly to transform schools and revolutionize school systems to empower all students with a high-quality education. Housing stability is a foundational starting point for LA’s students and families. We hope LA residents will join us in speaking up for — and with — our communities.