B - Readily funds technology as part of an award
Department of Education (DoEd)
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, students experiencing homelessness are increasingly under-identified, as learning outside of school building settings may have impeded the critical role of educators and staff in schools and districts to properly identify students, and these students have remained under-served by schools, districts, and States. Through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) funding has been provided to address the extraordinary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students experiencing homelessness via the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief – Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) Fund.
State educational agencies and local educational agencies (LEAs) must use 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 provide assistance to enable homeless children and youth to attend school and fully participate in school activities - including in-person instruction during spring 2021, and summer learning and enrichment programs that begin in the coming months.
Funding will be disbursed in two installments:
- This first disbursement is designed to provide funding to States immediately as a supplement to their McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) funds, so that States can address urgent needs of homeless children and youth—including academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs—and so States and local educational agencies (LEAs) can increase capacity by hiring staff, dedicating resources, and planning partnerships with community-based organizations, among other strategies. Funds must be administered by the Office of the State Coordinator for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, consistent with the requirements for EHCY funds.
- The second disbursement will be made available as soon as June after USED has completed necessary regulations to change EHCY's required competitive subtenant process for the purpose of the second allocation of funding. USED anticipates that the new regulation would require States to distribute funds that they will receive in the second phase to LEAs via a formula that uses the LEA's allocation under Title I, PartA (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) and the number of identified homeless children and youth in 2018-19.
History of Funding
The Department will release ARP-HCY funds in two separate disbursements (ARP HCY I and ARP HCY II). The total SEA allocations are visible at https://oese.ed.gov/files/2021/04/Attachment-1-ARP-Homeless-I-II-Total-Allocations.pdf.
HCY I allocations have been released to SEAS. That total, the 75% minimum distribution to LEAs, and the 25% amount that the SEA may reserve for state-level activities is visible at: https://oese.ed.gov/files/2021/04/Attachment-2-ARP-Homeless-I-SEA-Reservations.pdf
HCY II allocation details are forthcoming.
State Level Activities
SEAS are encouraged to reserve sufficient funding to support training, technical assistance, capacity-building, and engagement at the State and LEA levels. These funds should specifically be used to help LEAs identify and support students experiencing homelessness. In addition, States should focus on providing technical assistance and training to LEAs that have not received an EHCY sub-grant in the past to ensure that these LEAs are well-prepared to work in partnership with organizations to utilize the funds from ARP Homeless II. Then, when the second disbursement of ARP funds is available, States and LEAs can build on this work to continue identifying and providing timely and effective services to students experiencing homelessness.
In particular, the USED is concerned that historically under-served populations such as rural children and youth, Tribal children and youth, students of color, children and youth with disabilities, English learners, LGBTQ+ youth, and pregnant, parenting, or care-giving students experiencing homelessness may not have been identified and, as a result, may not be receiving the support and services they need.
USED encourages SEAs to award from funds reserved for State-level activities sub-grants or contracts to community-based organizations that are well-positioned to identify such children and youth and connect them to educationally related supports and wraparound services.
USED also urges SEAs to use their funds for State-level activities to provide support to LEAs to increase access to summer programming and plan for and provide wrap around services for summer 2021, in collaboration with State and local agencies and other community-based organizations. It is important to note that the needs of students experiencing homelessness must be addressed through the use of the ARP ESSER funds for State reservations (to address the academic impact of lost instructional time, summer learning and enrichment, and comprehensive after school programming) and the required LEA reservation for the academic impact of lost instructional time, and that the funding provided to support the needs of students experiencing homelessness by section 2001(b)(1) of the ARP is in addition to the support and services provided with ARP ESSER funds. (For example, a State may offer a summer learning and enrichment program for students disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, specifically including students experiencing homelessness, using ARP ESSER funds. A State may also use the ARP-HCY funds to complement its existing EHCY program to launch an outreach campaign to support students experiencing homelessness in enrolling in the ARP ESSER summer learning and enrichment program.)
LEA Level Activities
In order to facilitate urgent disbursement and use of these funds, the Department strongly encourages States to use the funds reserved for LEAs primarily to supplement existing EHCY LEA sub-grants. This will allow for more rapid fund distribution so that funds can immediately be used by LEAs to bolster their approaches to address the needs of students experiencing homelessness. SEAs should encourage LEAs to use these funds to focus on identifying students throughout spring 2021 and to connect students experiencing homelessness and their families to summer learning and enrichment programs for summer 2021, and to engage students and their families in preparation for this fall.
The Department further encourages SEAs to analyze where there are significant concentrations of students and families experiencing homelessness across their State (including in LEAs that are not existing EHCY sub-grantees), and how they will ensure that supports from ARP Homeless I can reach them.
USED encourages LEAs with sufficient funds available to award contracts to community-based organizations for help to identify historically underserved populations such as rural children and youth, Tribal children and youth, students of color, children and youth with disabilities, English learners, LGBTQ+ youth, and pregnant, parenting, or care-giving students experiencing homelessness - as well as to provide wraparound services to these students.
ARP Homeless I funds supplement the EHCY program, and all allowable EHCY uses apply to these funds. These activities may include any expenses necessary to facilitate the identification, enrollment, retention, and educational success of homeless children and youth, such as:
- providing wrap-around 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., PPE, eyeglasses, school supplies, personal care items);
- providing transportation to enable children and youth to attend classes and participate fully in school activities;
- purchasing cell phones or other technological devices for unaccompanied youth to enable the youth to attend and fully participate in school activities;
- 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 under-served 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); and
- providing store cards/prepaid debit cards to purchase materials necessary for students to participate in school activities.
State Education Agency are eligible to apply initially. It is expected that State Education Agencies (SEAs) will then redistribute or regrant awarded funds to Local Education Agencies (LEAs), including charter schools, within their jurisdiction.
Each State shall make allocations to local educational agencies in an expedited and timely manner for HCY I. HCY II funds are expected to be released by USED in June, after which SEAS should also expedite release to local education agencies.
LEAs should contact their SEA for steps on how to access these funds once monies have been obligated to the state.
This is a one-time emergency funding opportunity. Future deadlines are not anticipated.
A total of $800,000,000 has been allocated for the ARP ESSER HCY Fund. From funds provided USED shall use $1,000,000 for national activities (including technical assistance to states).
Consistent with the manner in which the Department awards funds to State educational agencies under the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Act, USED will allocate the remaining $799,000,000 to SEAs based on the proportion that each State received under Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in the most recent fiscal year. These grants shall be made in two installments:
- $199,750,000 for HCY I (25% of the total available)
- $599,250,000 for HCY II (75% of the total available)
The HCY II funds will be available to SEAS after USED finalizes the regulations that will apply to those funds.
Recent FUNDED Articles
Funding Classroom Technology to Empower Students and Teachers - Sponsored by Panasonic
Maximizing Technology-friendly Workforce Development Grants - Sponsored by Panasonic
Funding Data-driven Workforce Development Projects - Sponsored by NetApp