SAHF members provide housing to over 35,000 children in properties across the U.S. Many SAHF members provide a variety of programs and services to meet the needs of these youth, from bringing tutoring programs to the property to coordinating walking school buses with adult volunteers. One area in particular that SAHF service coordinators feel is critical to ensuring a child’s long-term success is connecting families of young children, particularly those ages three and four, to early education programs, such as Head Start, preschool, or Pre-Kindergarten.
SAHF 3-4 Year Old Youth Enrolled in Early Education Programs
While SAHF members have experienced difficulty in collecting data on young children, a small sample size of 378 children shows that 56 percent overall are enrolled in an early education program.
The chart below provides early education enrollment rates for certain SAHF properties, compared to rates for the surrounding census tract and state-wide rates for low-income families (<200% of the Federal Poverty Level). Census tracts rates are included to give some local context to the SAHF data, but as they include families of varying income levels and resources, they are far from a perfect comparison to affordable housing residents. The higher rates for other youth in the surrounding neighborhoods indicate that this is an area with room for improvement for SAHF members. However, SAHF rates exceed the state-wide rates for six of the eight locations with data.
When comparing this data against Enterprise Opportunity360’s “Educational Opportunity” index level, we can see that there is no direct relationship between the percentage of SAHF youth enrolled in early education programs and the educational opportunity in that neighborhood. In areas considered "Opportunity Limited," 46% of youth are enrolled in PreK, preschool or day care, while only 39% of youth are enrolled in areas considered educationally “Opportunity Rich.” Therefore, resident services coordinators in “Opportunity Limited” and “Moderate Challenges” communities may be mitigating the effects of those communities. While the Opportunity360 index does not specifically include early education enrollment, it has been shown to be correlated with parents' educational attainment, which is included in the index.
K-12 Educational Outcomes
Educational Outcomes of Chicago Students from the Chapin Hall Collaborative
Across the nation, collecting accurate and consistent data related to children’s well-being and educational outcomes has proven to be very difficult for organizations serving children. The SAHF members are no exception, and we are extremely excited about the prospect of addressing this significant challenge through participation in the Chapin Hall Collaborative. The Chapin Hall Collaborative is a groundbreaking, place-based approach to accountability and impact measurement, involving Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Housing Authority, SAHF members, and various Chicago-based non-profits serving PK-12 youth. These non-profits have partnered with a research institute—Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago—to access government administrative data for the youth they service. Through data sharing agreements with various Chicago public agencies, Chapin Hall is able to match individual students to their school records and provide aggregated data back to members of the Collaborative about the youth they serve.
In addition to outcomes data on these youth, Chapin Hall Collaborative members also receive data to benchmark their youth against other students who attend the same schools but are not involved in the Chapin Hall member’s programming, as well as aggregate data for youth in the Chicago Public School system as a whole. To the best of our knowledge, there is no similar collaborative approach anywhere else in the nation. SAHF believes this could be a very effective approach to measuring impact for children, and if successful, we hope that it could be replicated in other jurisdictions. The following SAHF members have family properties in Chicago and are involved in this Collaborative: The Community Builders, Preservation of Affordable Housing, Mercy Housing and Volunteers of America. Below is a sample of some of the data SAHF received for the 2016-17 school year.
School attendance rates
School attendance is an important factor in student success. Youth with high rates of absenteeism are more likely to perform poorly on academic measures including grades and tests and more likely to drop out of school. Overall attendance rates for SAHF youth in Chicago are comparable to those of peers and the district as a whole. In the elementary grades (PK-5), SAHF youth have attendance rates comparable to their peers, defined as other students in the same schools as SAHF students. In middle and high school grades (6-12), SAHF youth have attendance rates that are slightly higher than their school-based peers, but the differences are not statistically significant.
This data suggests that perhaps the housing stability and/or service coordination provided by SAHF member properties have a greater impact for teenage youth than younger PK-8 students. While there are many factors that impact student attendance, these positive results suggest that the impact of service-enriched housing on teens at SAHF properties should be further explored.
Standardized Test Scores
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a new state standardized assessment used by Chicago Public Schools for grades 3-11, based on Common Core standards. The chart below shows the percentages of students who met or exceeded the PARCC standards in math and reading for their grade level in the 2016-17 school year: