Head Start on Housing Overview

The Connecticut Department of Housing is providing Rental Assistance Program (RAP) and Section 8 vouchers for families whose children are participating in Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS) programs across Connecticut.

This program is made possible by the Early Childhood Housing Outreach Initiative (ECHO) – a network of trained professionals who support the housing success of young families throughout the state.  This initiative is a partnership between the CT Office of Early Childhood, CT Department of Housing, CT Head Start Association, and the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare. ECHO synchronizes resources across agencies to close the gaps through which children and families fall into homelessness and instead provides housing as a platform for economic and educational success.

Connecticut Office of Early Childhood

The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) is a state agency that oversees a network of programs and services that focus on children from birth to grade school. This initiative is made possible through cross agency partnership between the CT Head Start Collaboration Office, which facilitates partnerships between Head Start programs and other state entities, as well as MIECHV home visiting programs which seek to support parents in providing a stronger and healthier future for their children.

Visit www.ctoec.org

Connecticut Head Start Association

The CT Head Start Association mission is to coalesce, inspire, and support the Head Start field as a leader in early childhood development and education.

Visit www.ctheadstart.org

National Center for Housing and Child Welfare

The National Center for Housing and Child Welfare aims to prevent children from entering foster care or staying in out-of-home placement unnecessarily when parents aren’t able to afford safe, decent housing; and ensure all young people who age out of foster care have access to safe, decent, affordable housing.

Visit www.nchcw.org

Connecticut Department of Housing

The CT Department of Housing’s mission is to ensure everyone has access to quality housing opportunities and options throughout the State of Connecticut.

Visit portal.ct.gov/doh

State Department of Education

CT State Department of Education: The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) will ensure that all Connecticut children in homeless situations have the opportunity to attend, enroll in and succeed in school. The federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires all school districts to ensure access to public education for children and youth experiencing homelessness and ensure success in school once enrolled. As a Partner in A Head Start on Housing for CT Families, the State Department of Education will help strengthen and initiate a holistic statewide approach to early childhood homelessness prevention and intervention that will increase the number of McKinney-Vento defined students who receive stable housing and whose younger siblings are enrolled in Head Start/Early Head Start.

Visit portal.ct.gov/sde

Program Selection

In support of the Coordinated Access Network (CAN) system’s goal of ending family homelessness in Connecticut, Head Start families will be chosen for rental assistance program vouchers using a prioritization tool.

Selected Head Start programs will work with the families to learn who is at risk of or experiencing homelessness, and invite them to be part of this program. Head Starts will work with families to fill out the necessary paperwork and provide support through this process.  

Early Childhood Housing Outreach (ECHO) staff builds on Head Start’s strong local relationships and community networks to assist families in finding landlords who can also benefit from this program. Landlord recruitment highlights the support that Head Start programs give to families to ensure stable occupancy.

The following Head Start programs are currently participating in this project.  Based on funding, this project will continue to grow.