The Maine Department of Education received over $2.6 million in funding under the American Rescue Plan Act’s Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) program to support students experiencing homelessness.
“Even before the coronavirus pandemic highlighted and exacerbated inequities in America’s education system, students experiencing homelessness faced numerous challenges as they strove to learn and achieve in school each day. Amid COVID-19 and the transition to remote and hybrid learning, for so many students, these challenges intensified. As a nation, we must do everything we can to ensure that all students—including students experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity—are able to access an excellent education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “I am thrilled that all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico now will be able to use these funds from the American Rescue Plan to support students’ success in the new school year and ensure they are connected to vital services and supports.”
The additional ARP-HCY funding will be used by states and school administrative units (SAUs) to identify children and youth experiencing homelessness. States can provide wraparound services in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to enable children and youth experiencing homelessness participate fully in school activities, consistent with the McKinney-Vento Act, which is the primary piece of federal legislation related to the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness.
The Maine Department of Education will award 75 percent of the state’s funding to SAUs through formula subgrants, determined in part by a SAU’s population of children and youth experiencing homelessness and a district’s Title I-A allocation. Accordingly, SAUs will not have to compete for these funds, so these funds will reach SAUs that may not have accessed previous federal funding designated for students experiencing homelessness. This will make it possible for states and SAUs to access funding more quickly and reach more students experiencing homelessness.
SAUs that do not meet the minimum threshold of $5,000 for an award, based on the formula, should consider creating a consortium with other SAUs to receive a joint award. The Department’s initial estimates for ARP-HCY II disbursements can be found here.
For more information about this funding, register here to join the Maine Department of Education Staff for a webinar on August 17, 2021 from 1:00 – 2:00 PM. Or contract Amelia Lyons, McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Specialist, email@example.com or (207) 557-1787.
For assistance with the Emergency Rental Assistance Program with MaineHousing, connect with your local Housing Stability Coordinator at each Community Action Agency here.