The U.S. Department of Education announced late last week that it plans to distribute a total of $800 million to help support the needs of students experiencing homelessness_
The funds were made available under the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief – Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) fund. ED announced the state allocations for the $800 million total allocated in the American Rescue Plan and began distributing the $200 million in funding on Monday.
Georgia will receive $27.8 million as part of the allocation, with the first distribution totaling just over $6.8 million.
Alongside the announcement, the Department issued a letter to Chief State School Officers underscoring the urgent need to use this funding to identify homeless children and youth, provide wraparound services in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide assistance to enable homeless children and youth to attend school and participate fully in school activities, including in-person instruction this spring and upcoming summer learning and enrichment programs. The remaining funds will be allocated to states as soon as June.
“The pandemic made the inequities in our education system even worse, especially for students experiencing homelessness,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “As districts and schools return to in-person learning, we must act with urgency to provide all students, including students experiencing homelessness, equitable access to high-quality learning environments and the resources to help meet their basic needs which schools often provide.”
The Department’s letter to Chief State School Officers provides additional information and recommendations to support states and school districts in putting these resources to work to support students experiencing homelessness, particularly for student groups who have been historically underserved.
The announcement received praise from Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle:
“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. 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 internet, devices, or critical services that students have relied on to learn during this pandemic,” said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). “We fought hard to make sure the American Rescue Plan includes dedicated funding for students experiencing homelessness, and that the Department of Education is acting quickly to get these resources to our communities. 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.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional burdens for everyone but especially our students currently experiencing homelessness,” said U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (WV). “I am pleased Secretary Cardona is moving quickly to get the first round of the $800 million I successfully fought to include in the American Rescue Plan to school systems so they can identify and assist homeless students in their schools. If we can’t find these students, we can’t provide the essential support and services they need. I won’t stop fighting to put a roof over every student’s head and ensure they have the tools to succeed. I look forward to continue working with my bipartisan colleagues as well as Secretary Cardona to help every student thrive.”
“It is significant that every single one of my colleagues recognized the importance of supporting homeless youth and children by unanimously agreeing to my amendment twice on the Senate floor earlier this year,” said U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK). “I thank President Biden and Secretary Cardona for working with me and my colleagues to get this funding out the door as quickly and effectively as possible. By releasing this first round of funding, we can start to provide much-needed relief to the most vulnerable – homeless youth and children. I appreciate that Secretary Cardona has invited a young Alaskan to participate in a roundtable discussion with students who have experienced homelessness. This young Alaskan, who has persevered and is now thriving, will be a strong voice for so many other young people throughout our country.”
“Arizona youth experiencing, or at risk of homelessness, deserve safe and stable shelter, especially during the pandemic. I’m proud of our work across the aisle ensuring the COVID-relief law included our bipartisan Emergency Family Stabilization Fund, helping protect Arizona families and children from housing insecurity and keeping kids connected to their school work,” said U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ).
Specific state allocations are listed below:
|State||Total ARP Homeless Allocation||ARP Homeless I (April allocation)|
|DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA||2,530,583||632,646|