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States Encouraged to Apply for Second Disbursement of American Rescue Plan Funding

July 6, 2021 by Ansley Puckett
U.S. Dept. of Education. (Photo by Dan McCue)

The U.S. Department of Education invited states and school districts on Tuesday to apply for the additional $600 million in American Rescue Plan Funds for students experiencing homelessness. 

The $600 million is the second disbursement of the $800 million in funding provided under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021’s Homeless Children and Youth fund. The Department released the first $200 million in April, while the second disbursement of $600 million will give states and school districts access to funding before the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. 

“I encourage every state to urgently use these American Rescue Plan funds to support homeless children and youth so that these students have every chance to participate in summer learning and enrichment; experience full-time, in-person instruction in their schools in the fall; and get connected to vital services and supports that can support their success,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. 

According to the announcement, the funds are designed to be flexible so school districts and states can address their own community needs. However, states will use the funds to identify homeless children, provide broad services for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide assistance to enable homeless children to attend school and participate fully. 

“Since the pandemic kept most students at home, schools have struggled to track students experiencing homelessness,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., “This second round of funding—part of the $800 million I successfully fought to include in the American Rescue Plan—will help schools identify students experiencing homelessness and provide support for these vulnerable students.” 

Following an application for the money, states will receive funds that go to school districts through formula subgrants or a formula prescribed in legislation for a specific program. The funds will reach districts that may not have had access to previous federal funding meant for students experiencing homelessness. 

States are required to distribute funds to school districts through a formula that uses the district’s allocation under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. The number of identified homeless children in either the 2018-19 or 2019-20 school year is also considered, and the funds are distributed by whichever number is greater. 

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