This week, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) approved all remaining state plans of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 from the Homeless Children and Youth Fund (ARP-HCY). With today’s approval of the Mississippi State Plan, all 52 ARP-HCY state plans are approved by the Department. The $800 million in funding provided by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) will continue to identify and support students experiencing homelessness and connect them with needed resources and supports, and work for their enable them to attend school and participate fully in school activities.
The US bailout provided unprecedented funding to states to help homeless students and families. The Department believes that states must act urgently to provide all students, including homeless students, equitable access to high-quality learning environments and the resources to help meet their basic learning needs. schools often provide.
Across the country, states are distributing these funds and we are already seeing the impact. In Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the school district uses ARP-Homelessness funds to help identify and support its nearly 70 students experiencing homelessness. In Altoona, Pennsylvania, the school district uses these crucial funds to meet the basic needs of homeless students. This means working with partner organizations to provide food, shelter, school supplies and medical care to these children and their families.
These final approved plans continue to show states’ commitment to expanding opportunities for homeless students and their families. For example:
- The Tennessee Department of Education is developing a McKinney-Vento Data Dashboard to view all data, academic and support services, on homeless students in one place to better support decision-making. decisions about resources, supports and programs for students and families experiencing homelessness.
- Nevada is evaluating where and how best to address homeless children and youth using ARP-HCY funds. This effort will identify the strengths of the state and identify where additional support is needed. These supports could provide training, technical assistance, additional staffing capacity, and state and local engagement.
- The New Mexico Department of Public Education is creating a statewide community of practice for early childhood programs and for post-secondary education. They are also developing a pilot project with regional state education cooperatives to improve identification and services for homeless children and youth in rural areas.
These join plans that have already been approved by ED earlier this year. Highlights of these plans include:
- In Washington, the state education agency will use ARP-HCY funds to help school districts, develop and provide training, and improve coordination with other state programs. Additionally, the state will award contracts to community organizations that are well positioned to identify historically underserved student populations, including immigrant and refugee students, experiencing homelessness and connect them to educational supports and comprehensive community services.
- Ohio will use ARP-HCY funds to provide grants to districts, early learning centers, and technical career centers to increase identification of homeless students and families. These funds will enable schools to provide more support to preschoolers and unaccompanied youth in career technical education programs.
- The West Virginia Department of Education will engage state-level community organizations providing comprehensive services and allocate ARP-HCY funds specifically to provide targeted services to school-aged children who are homeless.
- And Oregon, in response to a series of wildfires in 2020, will use a portion of ARP HCY funding to increase the capacity of schools, districts, and communities to identify and re-engage homeless students.
“Every student deserves a safe place to call home, but for millions of homeless students, that is not the case – and during this pandemic, these students have faced truly unthinkable challenges,” said US Senator Patty Murray. “It is critical that we identify students experiencing homelessness and provide them with the resources and support they need to thrive, and this funding will help do just that. I’m so proud to have fought to include this critical funding in the US bailout, and I’m glad to see the Department of Education moving quickly to get these funds to our schools and communities in need. With so many students and families struggling with homelessness, I will continue to fight for every student to succeed in the classroom.
“Every child deserves a roof over their head and a warm place to sleep at night,” said US Senator Joe Manchin. Unfortunately, that is not the case for more than 9,500 children in West Virginia and more than one million children across the country. We need to address this heartbreaking issue, which is why I’m glad the latest plan for using US bailout funding to address child and youth homelessness, which I’ve managed to include , has been approved. This fight is far from over and I will continue to work with the Department of Education to ensure our children get the help they need and deserve.
“We worked across the aisle to make sure the US bailout included our bipartisan agenda protecting families and children during the pandemic. All state plans have been finalized, including in Arizona to ensure homeless or at-risk youth will have increased access to essential services to keep them safe and connected to learning,” said the senator. American Kyrsten Sinema.
Throughout the state plan review process, the Department has emphasized the importance of states providing funding to school districts as quickly as possible, encouraging strong partnerships with community organizations, and strategies that build capacity to identify homeless students and provide comprehensive services to meet all of their needs.
More information about each state’s ARP-HCY plan can be found here: https://oese.ed.gov/offices/american-rescue-plan/american-rescue-plan-elementary-secondary-school-emergency-relief -homeless-childhood-youth-arp-hcy/arp-hcy-plans-state.