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States saw an increase in the number of districts receiving McKinney-Vento funds supporting education for homeless students beginning in the 2021-22 school year – the number of schools receiving funds increased sixfold, a report from SchoolHouse Connection released today shows.
At normal funding levels, fewer than one in four school districts receive dedicated funding to identify and support homeless children and youth, according to the group, which released the report based on data from 37 states. SchoolHouse Connection is a nonprofit organization that advocates for academic support for homeless students and provides resources to programs, schools, and families.
Federal assistance targeted at homeless youth helped an additional 6,324 districts that do not typically receive regular McKinney-Vento subgrants in the 37 responding states. In 33 of the states that distributed both rounds of U.S. Rescue Plan funding for homeless children and youth, this represents an overall increase of 611% in the number of districts receiving dedicated funding for homeless education. shelter. Status increases range from 60% to 2300%.
For districts receiving these funds for the first time, “in many ways they may be at a more basic level, because for the first time they will be able to do things like have dedicated staff or offer support for after-school programs. “, Barbara Duffield, executive director of SchoolHouse Connection, said the districts were receiving these funds for the first time.
“And that’s really part of the vision of what all districts – certainly more than one in four – should have: specific funding to support this population,” said Duffield.
Prior to the distribution of ARP funds for homeless students, only 18% of school district homeless liaisons surveyed by SchoolHouse Connection in fall 2020 said federal aid flexibility was used to support homeless students.
Combined with the fact that most homeless students were not eligible for housing and homeless assistance due to federal definitions of homelessness, this resulted in a 22% drop in homeless student enrollment in the 2020-21 school year compared to the 2018-19 school year, the new report suggests.