U.S. Department of Education Announces $800m for Students Facing Homelessness
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the availability of $800 million in emergency funding to support students experiencing homelessness. The funds, enacted through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), are designed to support the identification of homeless children and youth and provide wraparound services and other necessary assistance so children and youth experiencing homelessness can attend school and participate fully in school activities.
The funds will be disbursed in two awards. The first $200 million will be made available immediately to supplement existing McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth programs (EHCY), and the second tranche, nearly $600 million, could be released as early as June.
The latest data from 2018 shows that of the 1,384,301 homeless students enrolled in public schools (2.7 percent of enrollment), 266,739 received services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (19.3 percent) as compared to 14 percent nationwide. The rate of students experiencing homelessness has likely increased significantly due to the pandemic, but no updated data is yet available.