The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today released nearly $600 million in funding under the American Rescue Plan Act’s Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) program to support students experiencing homelessness. In April, the Department released the first $200 million of the $800 million in ARP-HCY funds to states. Following the Department’s approval of state applications today, distribution of all of the remaining funds will give states and school districts access to this critical funding before the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.
“Even before the coronavirus pandemic highlighted and exacerbated inequities in America’s education system, students experiencing homelessness faced numerous challenges as they strove to learn and achieve in school each day. Amid COVID-19 and the transition to remote and hybrid learning, for so many students, these challenges intensified. As a nation, we must do everything we can to ensure that all students—including students experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity—are able to access an excellent education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “I am thrilled that all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico now will be able to use these funds from the American Rescue Plan to support students’ success in the new school year and ensure they are connected to vital services and supports.”
The additional ARP-HCY funding distributed today will be used by states and school districts to identify children and youth experiencing homelessness. States can provide wraparound services in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to enable children and youth experiencing homelessness participate fully in school activities, consistent with the McKinney-Vento Act, which is the primary piece of federal legislation related to the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness.
Today’s announcement follows the Department’s review and approval of each state’s streamlined application to access the remaining ARP-HCY funds. States may use up to 25 percent of their funds for state-determined uses and, as the result of a rule published by the Department on July 9, states will award at least 75 percent of the state’s funding to school districts through formula subgrants, determined in part by a district’s population of children and youth experiencing homelessness and a district’s Title I-A allocation. Accordingly, districts will not have to compete for these funds, so these funds will reach districts that may not have accessed previous federal funding designated for students experiencing homelessness. This will make it possible for this funding to reach more students experiencing homelessness and for states and districts to access funding more quickly.
“Every single student deserves a safe place to call home, but for millions of students experiencing homelessness that is not the case—and during this pandemic these students faced truly unthinkable challenges,” said Sen. Patty Murray. “It’s critical that we identify students experiencing homelessness and get them the resources and support they need to thrive—and that’s exactly what this funding will help do. I’m so proud to have fought to include this critical funding in the American Rescue Plan, and I’m glad to see the Department of Education acting quickly to get these funds to our schools and communities in need. With so many students and families struggling with homelessness, I’ll keep fighting to ensure every single student can succeed in the classroom.”
“Every child across America and West Virginia should have a roof over their head every single night,” said Sen. Joe Manchin. “I fought to ensure that the American Rescue Plan included $800 million to help identify and assist students currently experiencing homelessness. Today’s approval of state plans releases the second round of funding. West Virginia alone will be receiving more than $3.7 million, which is good news for the more than 10,000 West Virginia children and youth currently experiencing homelessness. This fight is far from over, and I’ll keep working with the Department of Education to ensure our children get the help they need and deserve.”
Each state received an ARP-HCY allocation. States are required to submit plans for their use of ARP-HCY funds within 60 days. For more information on ARP-HCY funding, click here.
Today’s second distribution of ARP-HCY funds is aligned with the Department’s broader efforts to support students and districts as they work to reengage students impacted by the pandemic, address inequities exacerbated by COVID-19, and build our education system back better than before. In addition to providing $130 billion for K-12 education in the American Rescue Plan to support the safe reopening of K-12 schools and meet the needs of all students, the Biden-Harris Administration has:
– Released three volumes of the COVID-19 Handbook.
– Held a National Safe School Reopening Summit .
– Helped over 175 million Americans ages 12 and older get vaccinated, especially teachers and school-based personnel.
– Provided $10 billion in funding for COVID-19 testing for PreK-12 educators, staff, and students.
– Prioritized the vaccination of educators and other school staff.
– Launched a series of Equity Summits focused on addressing school and district inequities that existed before, but were made worse by the pandemic.
– Released a report on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on underserved communities, including homeless youth.
– Developed a Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse elevating hundreds of best practices to support schools’ efforts to reopen safely and address the impacts of COVID-19 on students, educators, and communities.
– Released over $3 billion in IDEA funds within the American Rescue Plan to support children and families with disabilities impacted by the pandemic.