ED presses states to apply for $600M for homeless students

The second round of funding through the Homeless Children and Youth Fund will provide districts with needed support.
By: | July 6, 2021
Lightfield Studios

The U.S. Department of Education is urging states to finish their applications for Round 2 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021’s Homeless Children and Youth Fund (ARP-HCY), which will deliver a collective $600 million in additional support to students in dire need this summer and before the start of the school year.

In April, ED through the ARP-HCY Fund gave states $200 million to help school districts offset the disparities homeless students faced during the pandemic, both in terms of learning loss and other inequities further fueled by COVID-19.

“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,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “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 that opens doors to opportunity and thriving lives.”

More from DA: ED to make $200 million available to states

According to the National Center on Family Homelessness and the National Conference of State Legislators, there are approximately 2.5 million homeless children, or 1 in every 30 kids, in the United States. That number may fluctuate as family members who lost jobs during the pandemic and have been relying on unemployment benefits could see them significantly reduced in 26 states. Leaders say it is imperative that ARP-HCY funds be utilized to provide wraparound services to students.

“The COVID-19 pandemic made this heartbreaking and dire issue much worse for many of our families and children in need. Since the pandemic kept most students at home, schools have struggled to track students experiencing homelessness,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, who noted that 10,000 children in his home state of West Virginia are homeless. “This second round of funding will help schools provide support for these vulnerable students.”

Some students faced additional challenges during the past year after schools shut down and provided solely remote learning options during the pandemic. Many became difficult to track for schools and districts. Aside from learning loss in classrooms, those students also missed out on regular school activities.

“This past year has been so difficult for every student, parent and educator across the country—but what students experiencing homelessness have gone through is unthinkable,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who is a former educator. “The first thing we told people during this pandemic was to stay home. But so many students don’t have a safe place to call home, access to the internet, devices, or critical services that students have relied on to learn during this pandemic. The crisis of youth homelessness is especially acute for LGBTQ young people and children of color, and I’ll keep fighting to make sure students experiencing homelessness not only get enrolled in school but also get the kind of support and stability they need so they can learn and grow in the classroom.”

Once they apply, states will get funds that they can then distribute to districts via formula subgrants, especially those that have not previously received funding for student homelessness. According to ED, “under the final requirements that will be published in the Federal Register, states are required to distribute funds to school districts via a formula that uses the district’s allocation under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and the number of identified homeless children and youth in either the 2018-19 or 2019-20 school year, whichever number is greater.”

The $800 million strategy is one of the many initiatives that have been undertaken by the Biden Administration to reopen schools safely and support students and educators under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Aside from funding, districts can leverage a number of resources, including three volumes of the COVID-19 Handbook and the Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse.

Each state’s revised allocation is listed below (as of June):

SEA Total ARP Homeless Allocation ARP Homeless I (Unchanged) (25 percent1) Revised ARP Homeless II (75 percent1)    
Amount to SEAs 799,000,000 199,750,000 599,250,000
ALABAMA 13,239,031 3,308,135 9,930,896
ALASKA 2,350,009 587,431 1,762,578
ARIZONA 16,922,395 4,228,531 12,693,864
ARKANSAS 8,213,312 2,052,328 6,160,984
CALIFORNIA 98,757,695 24,677,307 74,080,388
COLORADO 7,643,776 1,910,019 5,733,757
CONNECTICUT 7,247,850 1,811,091 5,436,759
DELAWARE 2,691,098 672,632 2,018,466
D.C. 2,531,300 632,646 1,898,654
FLORIDA 46,127,238 11,526,067 34,601,171
GEORGIA 27,849,370 6,958,912 20,890,458
HAWAII 2,701,880 675,243 2,026,637
IDAHO 2,882,705 720,464 2,162,241
ILLINOIS 33,129,062 8,278,217 24,850,845
INDIANA 13,072,898 3,266,643 9,806,255
IOWA 5,075,905 1,268,374 3,807,531
KANSAS 5,443,402 1,360,194 4,083,208
KENTUCKY 13,281,817 3,414,094 9,867,723
LOUISIANA 17,075,605 4,266,793 12,808,812
MAINE 2,694,822 673,564 2,021,258
MARYLAND 12,787,274 3,195,247 9,592,027
MASSACHUSETTS 11,994,087 2,997,079 8,997,008
MICHIGAN 24,378,753 6,091,723 18,287,030
MINNESOTA 8,655,053 2,162,734 6,492,319
MISSISSIPPI 10,664,254 2,664,754 7,999,500
MISSOURI 12,822,529 3,204,078 9,618,451
MONTANA 2,502,430 625,607 1,876,823
NEBRASKA 3,577,701 893,998 2,683,703
NEVADA 7,025,680 1,755,540 5,270,140
NEW HAMPSHIRE 2,296,237 573,993 1,722,244
NEW JERSEY 18,118,225 4,527,381 13,590,844
NEW MEXICO 6,416,504 1,603,335 4,813,169
NEW YORK 58,910,436 14,720,327 44,190,109
NORTH CAROLINA 23,588,229 5,894,156 17,694,073
NORTH DAKOTA 1,999,979 499,915 1,500,064
OHIO 29,308,662 7,323,606 21,985,056
OKLAHOMA 9,788,535 2,445,941 7,342,594
OREGON 7,346,860 1,835,834 5,511,026
PENNSYLVANIA 32,748,656 8,183,177 24,565,479
PUERTO RICO 19,438,068 4,857,120 14,580,948
RHODE ISLAND 2,719,153 679,643 2,039,510
SOUTH CAROLINA 13,841,864 3,458,766 10,383,098
SOUTH DAKOTA 2,502,430 625,607 1,876,823
TENNESSEE 16,303,363 4,073,839 12,229,524
TEXAS 81,388,454 20,337,095 61,051,359
UTAH 4,033,829 1,008,006 3,025,823
VERMONT 1,868,242 466,994 1,401,248
VIRGINIA 13,825,002 3,454,572 10,370,430
WASHINGTON 12,140,633 3,033,718 9,106,915
WEST VIRGINIA 4,990,123 1,246,924 3,743,199
WISCONSIN 10,097,813 2,523,241 7,574,572
WYOMING 1,989,772 497,365 1,492,407