The U.S. Department of Education today (July 6) announced availability of $600 million in additional funding under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for children and youth who are experiencing homelessness.
State educational agencies (SEAs–such as the DPI) and local educational agencies (LEAs–such as school districts) must use these funds (known as ARP-HCY funds) to identify homeless children and youth, to provide homeless children and youth with wrap-around services to address the challenges of COVID-19, and to enable homeless children and youth to attend school and fully participate in school activities.
According to the Department, following a brief application, states will receive funds that will be awarded to school districts through formula subgrants. These funds will reach districts that may not have accessed previous federal funding designated for students experiencing homelessness.
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.
With the exception of the district subgranting formula, which replaces the competitive subgrant process required by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento Act), all requirements of the McKinney-Vento Act also apply to the ARP-HCY funds.
In recognition of the extraordinary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students experiencing homelessness, the ARPA included an unprecedented $800 million to support the specific needs of homeless children and youth via the American Rescue Plan – Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) Fund.
Today’s announcement relates to the second round of funding for this program. An earlier round in April 2021 made $200 million available nationwide.