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Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo has filed comments in opposition to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed rule changes that would prohibit “mixed-status families” from living in public housing and Section 8 programs.

Mixed-status families include both citizen and non-citizen children and parents. Current laws allow these families to live together in subsidized housing as long as the subsidy is decreased to exclude the ineligible person from assistance.

Given that nearly 60 percent of children in Los Angeles County have at least one immigrant parent, Duardo is concerned that many of these young people will be forced into homelessness or unsafe housing by the proposed change.

“As educators, we know well the terrible harm students experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity suffer,” Duardo wrote in her comments. “These children face school attendance issues, trauma and chronic stress, enrollment-related issues, instability in academics including reduced educational outcomes, health and mental health related concerns, and behavioral issues.”

Without stable housing, youth are at great risk of academic and social failure. The proposed regulation will add to the homeless student population in Los Angeles County, which at last count in 2017-18 numbered more than 70,000 children and youth for whom resources are already stretched thin.

Duardo is committed to protecting the constitutional right of all children, regardless of immigration status, to receive a free public K-12 education, working to ensure they are provided safe school environments and have the needed resources to come to school healthy, happy, and ready to learn.

The Los Angeles County Office of Education “has strong concerns regarding the potential loss of housing for students living in mixed-immigration status households,” Duardo said. “Many of our children are impacted by poverty, and their health and well-being depend on the stability of a home environment that is safe and secure.”

View the letter from Superintendent Duardo to the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of General Counsel here.

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