Education Initiatives

Children attending an after-school program

KCHA’s housing programs provide 20,000 children with a place to call home. These kids live in some of the region’s poorest, most at-risk households, where annual incomes average just $18,000. Many were born to immigrant and refugee parents, and nearly half live in homes where the primary language is not English. Prior to receiving KCHA housing assistance, more than 50 percent of these children and their families were homeless.

As a regional housing authority, our properties lie within the bounds of 17 school districts. Although some of these districts rank among the strongest in the country, many face the challenge of educating large numbers of children from high-poverty communities.

KCHA’s goal for low-income children is to help improve their academic and life prospects. To support this goal, we work both with their families and with a host of community partners to create more successful outcomes.

Supporting Opportunity and Stability

Families with Section 8 vouchers can live wherever they choose, as long as their rent meets specific guidelines. Typically the federal government sets these guidelines. However, KCHA uses its flexibility as an MTW agency to provide a higher subsidy level in certain parts of the county. This gives families with vouchers the ability to live in communities with higher-performing schools while still paying rents they can afford. For families who wish to live in high-opportunity areas, KCHA is also developing programs to help them more easily find housing and better navigate the local school system.

Research shows that changing schools during the middle of a school year disrupts learning both for children who move and the classrooms they leave and join. The effects are especially strong for younger children. To help reduce this disruption, KCHA counsels families who are considering a move on the ways in which that decision could affect their child. We also help them explore other options, such as moving during the summer, or choosing a home in a location that does not force their child to change schools.

Partnering with Schools and Nonprofits

KCHA works closely with families, school districts, and service providers in three key areas on Kent’s East Hill. These areas have high numbers of children who live in KCHA-assisted housing, along with early learning and after-school activities on site to support them. The Read to Succeed initiative connects KCHA and nonprofit partners to help ensure that students:

  • Enter kindergarten ready to learn
  • Achieve grade-level competency in English by the end of the third grade
  • Have parents who are engaged in the education process.

Early learning interventions and the coordination of in-school and after-school programs support this goal. The program serves children ages 2 to 8.

KCHA also has collective community efforts with key partners in White Center and along the 148th Street corridor in Bellevue. These initiatives work to develop common goals and strategies to connect housing, schools, and nonprofit partners to promote student success.

With its combination of housing and community facilities, KCHA is uniquely positioned at the heart of these neighborhoods. This allows us not only to ensure that children and parents have homes but also to support the delivery of services that help children achieve success in school and in life. Data sharing between partners enables KCHA to track cohort outcomes, and informs changes to policies and program design.

In addition, KCHA takes part in the Road Map District Consortium. This group includes schools from Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, Seattle, and Tukwila, along with mayors and local business leaders. Together it develops programs that support education from early learning to college prep, for students ages 3 to 23. The Consortium won a $40 million federal Race to the Top grant in December 2012. This funding allows the group to further expand its programs, which work to:

  • Increase the number of children ready for kindergarten
  • Raise instruction quality in math and science
  • Help students plan for career training or college
  • Provide early intervention for struggling students

Main Office
600 Andover Park W.
Tukwila, WA 98188
Tel: (206) 574-1100
Fax: (206) 574-1104
TDD: (800) 833-6388
Directions

Section 8 Office
700 Andover Park W.
Tukwila, WA 98188
Tel: (206) 214-1300
Fax: (206) 243-5927
Directions

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