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