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257 Lawrence St
Hartford, CT, 06106

(860) 721 7876

The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness launched be homeful in December, 2014. This campaign is a bold and innovative project designed to help Americans stamp out family homelessness for good. Our mission is to end homelessness one family at a time for the 1,000 families in Connecticut that experience homelessness in any given year.

While shelters across the state are bursting at the seams, there is currently no major source of funding to keep struggling families from slipping into homelessness in moments of crisis. By making funds available to keep families in the comfort of home, we can help break the cycle of homelessness that can carry forward across generations.

Through community partnerships and collaboration with families across Connecticut, the be homeful project will establish the first state-wide emergency assistance fund for shelter diversion. This fund will be accessible to case workers serving families at the front door of shelter and will reimburse expenses for rental assistance, security deposits, gas cards and other sundry expenses tied to diverting family from shelter in favor of actual homes.

Ages 5-9

the be homeful project: Grades K-4 lesson plan (ages 5-9)


The big idea

Children at this age have a profound sense of fairness. Is it fair that some children become homeless? How can we make our community a fairer place?

Learning objective

This lesson plan will give students the opportunity to think about and use valuable critical thinking skills to explore what we can do to make the world fair.

In the real world

Homelessness exists in our country and in our towns. The more educated our students are on the topic, the more likely they are to react empathetically when they encounter homelessness. Ideally, these lessons will lead to an understanding of family homelessness and will instill in a student the knowledge and confidence to work towards ending it.

Time frame: 30-40 minutes


To educate students about homelessness and encourage thoughtful community engagement.



How do needs and wants affect how we live? [Compelling question based on "what makes a community?"]



  • Homelessness: without a home

  • Reasons that family can become homeless

    • unexpected expenses

    • if someone gets hurt

    • gas, groceries, and the cost of housing together can cost more than people can afford

  • Someone who doesn't have a home vs. "homeless person"


  1. Warm up: Teacher hands out poetry worksheet. (INQ K-2.1)

    • Teacher will ask for volunteers to share (CIV 1.4-1.5)

    • Teacher will collect poems and ask students to put a star at the top if they want it to be read out load without their name attached

  2. Introduction: Teacher will introduce the class to the concept of homelessness.

    • Does anybody know what it means to be homeless? Discuss with the class.

    • Balancing wants and needs: pictures of food, air conditioning, shoes, video games, a home (ECO1.1)

      • Ask the class to sort into wants vs. needs

      • What happens when you don't have enough money for all of your family's needs? (ECO 1.2)

  3. Reading and class discussion: Teacher will read “Paddington.”

    • Teacher will create a mind map on the board: What comes to mind when you think of Paddington? What does he look like? Where is he from? Why is he at the train station? What is Paddington like? Put at least 5 characteristics on the board.

      • If students do not say that Paddington is homeless, add it to the mind map.

    • Teacher will explain that not having a home does not define Paddington, but it does make his life difficult.

    • What can we do for a friend in Paddington's shoes? (INQ K-2.16)

      • Tell a trusted adult e.g. teacher, school nurse. Who are your trusted adults?

        • Why are trusted adults important? (CIV 1.2)

      • Call 211

      • Why do we help our friends who are having a tough time? (CIV 1.2)

      • Should we help others who are having a tough time, even if we don't know them personally? Who should help those people? (ECO 1.2)

      • How do members of our community help each other with needs?

    • What can we do to make sure it doesn't keep happening?

  4. Closure: Hand out activity kits.


Reinforce the distinction between "helping the homeless" and "ending homelessness" by holding a "marmalade drive" in honor of Paddington's favorite food. Kids can teach their families what they have learned and build the social safety net for children in their communities by collecting change for their local "be homeful" fund, which frontline workers from the shelter system can access to help local families facing imminent homelessness remain housed rather than enter the shelter system in the first place. Visit to download your DIY marmalade kit.