In an effort to promote and increase the work being done across the country to improve the grade-level reading skills of children living in federally assisted housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro today announced HUD is joining forces with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a national partnership to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship.
During a ceremony in Tampa, Florida, Secretary Castro announced HUD will team up with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to promote the great work Public Housing Agencies (PHAs), including the Tampa Housing Authority, are doing as partners in their local Campaigns for Grade-Level Reading and to encourage and support other PHAs in joining their local campaign. Through the local campaigns communities are implementing the strategies needed to increase literacy of school-age children; this new partnership will help to ensure these great strategies are reaching families living in public housing. Housing is a critical platform for a child's success and nearly four million low-income children are living in HUD-assisted housing. An important part of HUD's mission is to form partnerships between public housing agencies, private partners, and school systems that can enhance education outcomes needed to improve the life trajectories of these low-income children.
"Empowering our children with the basic skills they need to become successful helps them to reach their full potential," said Secretary Castro. "There's no more important mission than to use housing as a platform for success and we need to make certain that our residents, particularly their children, have every opportunity that education can provide. I'm thrilled that the Tampa Housing Authority has taken on this initiative and will serve as a model for other housing authorities."
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort by foundations, leading social-sector organizations, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities that focuses on an important predictor of school success and high school graduation-reading proficiency by the end of third grade. Through the partnership, local Public Housing Authorities will be encouraged to work with local GLR Campaign communities to address the solution areas that are critical to achieving reading proficiency -- school readiness, school attendance, and summer learning. Promoting healthy on-track development and supporting parent success are also embedded in the partnership efforts.
"For children in low-income families, the stakes are even higher and the challenges much greater," said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. "By embracing grade-level reading as an important goal, HUD and Public Housing Authorities are betting that low-income families can break the cycle of intergenerational poverty."
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will bring HUD and the GLR Campaign together to highlight the work being done in up to 25 Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) participating in local campaigns across the country to improve educational outcomes for children living in HUD-assisted housing. HUD will highlight these (PHAs) and encourage others to join the effort.