Children Affected By Foreclosure: Sens. Menendez and Kennedy, Fighting to Assist Uprooted Children, Urge Republicans to Allow Amendment to Housing Bill

Children Affected By Foreclosure: Sens. Menendez and Kennedy, Fighting to Assist Uprooted Children, Urge Republicans to Allow Amendment to Housing Bill

As millions of families lose homes, schoolchildren have been floating from one school to another

Washington - As a result of the nationwide foreclosure crisis, schoolchildren whose families have been uprooted from their homes have found themselves floating from school to school. U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) are working to help schoolchildren remain in their schools, even if their families lose their home. They have offered an amendment to the Senate's housing bill that would provide an infusion of funding for a program to help homeless students stay in their schools and receive educational assistance. Senate Republicans are currently blocking this amendment, as part of a package of amendments, from passage.

Senators Menendez and Kennedy, along with national children's advocacy organizations, are calling on Senate Republicans to allow the amendment in the bill and are committed to getting these uprooted children the assistance they need to continue their educational development.

Senator Menendez said: "Abruptly uprooting children from the schools where they are connected to the teachers, learning material and classmates can severely stunt their development. It is unfair to let these children float from one unfamiliar school to another through no fault of their own and against the will of their parents. Our proposal would help prevent our children's education from becoming yet another piece of collateral damage in the devastating foreclosure crisis. Our Republican colleagues should allow assistance for these silent victims."

Melissa Wagoner, spokeswoman for Senator Kennedy, said: "The loss of a home is devastating - particularly for young people. Senator Kennedy is proud to support this amendment. It will go a long way towards providing homeless students with the support they need to succeed in school and reach their full potential."

Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus, said: "We commend Senator Menendez for standing up for the innocent victims of the foreclosure crisis - an estimated 2 million of our nation's children. As families lose their homes, kids are losing their schools and access to services. These changes are not only impacting their education but their physical and mental health as well. We are disappointed that the amendment IS BEING blocked today and urge the federal government to address the needs of children as they continue to take actions to minimize the impact of the mortgage crisis."

Tim Stahlke, President of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, said: "The emergency grants created by the Menendez amendment are desperately needed to help schools create stability in the midst of upheaval, so that loss of housing does not mean loss of education, peer networks, and community support. We are grateful for Senator Menendez' efforts on behalf of children who would otherwise go unseen and unserved."

Abrupt, and in some cases frequent, changes of school can affect a child's ability to learn and puts strain on school districts. An analysis by the group First Focus and the Brookings Institution has estimated that up to two million schoolchildren will be affected by the foreclosure crisis.

The amendment to the housing bill was supported by the following national organizations: Alliance for Children and Families Alliance for Excellent Education, American Humane Association, Break the Cycle. Camp Fire USA, Child Welfare League of America, Communities In Schools, First Focus, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association Secondary School Principalsm National Collaboration for Youth, National Education Association, National PTA, National School Boards Association, Public Education Network, School Social Work Association of America, The Rebecca Project for Human Rights, United Neighborhood Centers of America, Voices for America's Children, YMCA of the USA, and YouthBuild USA.

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