U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced plans to distribute $800 million to help support the needs of students experiencing homelessness under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief. These funds are being released in two disbursements – $200 million was released on Monday, April 26, 2021, and an additional $600 million will be released as soon as June 2021. A list of total State allocations is available on ED's website.
The funds awarded under ARP can be used to facilitate the identification, enrollment, retention, and educational success of homeless children and youth, including:
Providing wraparound services (which could be provided in collaboration with and/or through contracts with community-based organizations, and could include academic supports, trauma-informed care, social-emotional support, and mental health services)
Purchasing needed supplies (e.g., personal protective equipment (PPE), eyeglasses, school supplies, personal care items)
Providing access to reliable, high-speed internet for students through the purchase of internet-connected devices/equipment, mobile hotspots, wireless service plans, or installation of Community Wi-Fi Hotspots (e.g., at homeless shelters), especially in underserved communities
Paying for short-term, temporary housing (e.g., a few days in a motel) when such emergency housing is the only reasonable option for COVID-safe temporary housing and when necessary to enable the homeless child or youth to attend school and participate fully in school activities (including summer school)
Additionally, these funds can be used for community-based organizations that are well-positioned to identify youth from historically underserved populations, including rural children and youth, Tribal children and youth, students of color, children and youth with disabilities, English learners, LGBTQ+ youth, and pregnant, parenting, or caregiving students, to educationally related supports and services.
These funds are being released to States, which can use up to 25% of the funds for state-level planning and activities. States must distribute the remaining 75% of the funds local education agencies (LEAs) for local needs. HUD encourages Continuums of Care (CoCs) and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) providers to reach out to States and LEAs in your area to collaborate on assisting children and youth who are experiencing homelessness, including sharing data from Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS); making connections between families in the homeless response system and LEAS; and considering connections between the LEA and your local Coordinated Entry System