American Rescue Plan-Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY)

The American Rescue Plan Act provided an historic $800 million to support the identification, enrollment, and school participation of children and youth experiencing homelessness, including through wrap-around services.

ARP-HCY SPOTLIGHTS

Academic Support
Capacity Building & Staffing
Housing-Related Supports
Outreach & Identification
Prepaid Debit & Store Cards
Transportation
Wrap-around Services

Durham Public Schools, North Carolina

Durham Public Schools utilizes multiple funding sources to provide extensive supports and services to their students experiencing homelessness. Using Title I, Part A funds, the LEA pays for the homeless liaison salary, as well as a McKinney-Vento social worker to identify and support students which, pre-pandemic, numbered over 1,000. Title I, Part A funds also support salaries and transportation for the LEA’s tutoring program for identified students. Durham Public Schools also receive McKinney-Vento subgrant funds, which are used to provide tutoring and summer camp programming. 

With the LEA’s ARP-HCY funds, the LEA is prioritizing their focus on high school students. Unaccompanied homeless youth will have access to academic tutoring, ACT and SAT prep, FAFSA, and college essay writing support. The LEA is using funds to hire a youth case manager to intentionally meet the needs of these youth. Unaccompanied youth will also have access to two years of mental health support through the district.

In addition, the LEA is expanding tutoring at the elementary and middle school levels, bringing tutors into the buildings with the highest need to ensure direct access.

Durham currently has one shelter that youth over 18 can access. The LEA is using ARP-HCY funds to create a study space at the shelter to support re-engagement of youth and access to educational programming.  

“I’m excited because if it had not been for ARP-HCY funding, there is a lot we wouldn’t be able to do!”
– Ebony Ross, Homeless Liaison

School District of Janesville, Wisconsin

The School District of Janesville plans to use ARP-HCY funds to hire a part-time tutor to support the academic success of children and youth in House of Mercy and YWCA Domestic Violence Shelters. The district’s Families in Transition Coordinator sought the feedback of shelter partners to support the academic success of children and youth in their care. Through the collaboration with shelter directors, it was determined that students struggle to understand and complete homework, and often do not have support from the adults in their lives, who may be working, lack content knowledge, or are under too much stress. The tutor will work with students in the shelters weekday evenings, and in the afternoons during the summer following district summer programming.​ ​The Families in Transition Coordinator will also use funds to purchase curricula to support tutoring. The district intends to hire the tutor this spring, and fund the position until at least 2024. The district will consider applying for McKinney-Vento subgrant funds to sustain the position after ARP-HCY funds are no longer available, while continuing to use Title I, Part A Homeless Reservation funds to pay the salary of the Families in Transition Coordinator who leads the district’s efforts to support children and youth experiencing homelessness.

“The ARP-HCY funding has allowed our school district to take a proactive approach to help students experiencing homelessness feel confident in their ability to succeed in school. By helping children take an active role in their life, it will give them the confidence to overcome helplessness.”
– Carrie Kulinski, Families in Transition Coordinator

Richland County School District One, South Carolina 

Richland County School District One is using ARP-HCY funds to increase the capacity of their McKinney-Vento program for the first time. The district has created two positions to support the work of the long-time homeless liaison. The first position funded with ARP-HCY will be an administrative assistant to support the overall work of the program. The second position is a case manager position who will focus on outreach and identification, as well as systems navigation, supporting the work of the liaison, and continuing to build up the program.  Richland One has lost students because of the pandemic and overall numbers are down. However, increasing staff capacity with ARP-HCY funds provides the opportunity to be intentional and deliberate in finding and supporting these students. 

In addition to adding staff members, Richland One will use ARP-HCY funds to support the work of a new partnership with the NAACP. Through a fellowship with law students from the University of South Carolina, the NAACP will provide clinics around the district to connect families with housing navigators and legal resources. The NAACP will provide trained housing navigators to walk families through housing issues ranging from eviction to tenant-landlord issues. Families will benefit from the pro-bono legal expertise provided, as well as the comprehensive connections to community resources. ARP-HCY funds will pay for school staff time to be available during the clinics, but the clinics themselves will not require funding, making this housing resource sustainable into the future. 

“I am excited because for the first time we are able to help with capacity which is a huge need in our district. I’m excited about the wonderful footprint this work will leave.”

-Deborah C. Boone, McKinney-Vento/PASS Coordinator

Roanoke City Schools, Virginia 

The Roanoke City Schools McKinney-Vento Program Coordinator is using ARP-HCY funds to increase program staff capacity. In addition to the coordinator, the program has employed a part-time staff person to provide support. Using ARP-HCY funds, the part-time position has become a full-time Outreach Specialist position to support the work of receiving referrals and determining eligibility of students. ARP-HCY funds also have been used to hire a part-time Family Outreach Specialist position to manage and distribute community donations to students and families, as well as supporting the LEAs work on chronic absenteeism with students experiencing homelessness.

Another focus of Roanoke’s ARP-HCY funding is to support unaccompanied homeless youth. Roanoke City Schools is using funds to support their “Senior Shine and Dine” event to celebrate the graduation and success of seniors identified as experiencing homleessness. ARP-HCY funds are paying for iPad purchases for seniors to work on college applications, FAFSA applications, and other postsecondary planning and transitions. The Program Coordinator is in the process of developing an additional program for seniors that will focus on independent living skills to provide tools for youth in the next stage of their college or career journey. ARP-HCY funds will pay for a school counselor to support the program outside of regular contract hours.

In addition, ARP-HCY funds have made it possible for Roanoke City Schools to hire a part-time licensed clinical social worker to support the creation of the aforementioned independent living skills program. The social worker will provide regular support and professional development to staff who experience secondary trauma from supporting McKinney-Vento students in crisis. The LEA has seen an increase in domestic violence situations as a result of the pandemic, so the social worker also will provide support to conduct an initial assessment of the family and student’s situation, as well as help accessing community organizations to support survivors of domestic violence.

The Program Coordinator will collect data on these initiatives, evaluate their effectiveness, and explore additional funding to sustain them.

“It’s too bad the additional funding is the result of a pandemic, but it’s bringing awareness to all the things we aren’t getting support for, especially with unaccompanied homeless youth. With ARP-HCY funds, I’m finally getting to try things that I’ve always wanted to do during my 19 years as the homeless liaison.”
-Malora Horn, Roanoke City Schools McKinney-Vento Program Coordinator

Minneapolis Public Schools, Minnesota

To better understand how their ARP-HCY funds should be spent, Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) developed a survey that was sent to students and parents experiencing homelessness, along with staff and community partners. Using current and past identified student information, MPS was able to use mini-grant funds received from Education Leads Home to provide gift cards for completing the survey, reaching over 200 unique students and parents of students experiencing homelessness. By asking questions about barriers, as well as what has helped students and families in the past, MPS identified three key areas to invest their ARP-HCY funds: transportation, basic needs, and mental health. They have matched those needs with ARP-HCY funds and taken steps toward hiring a transportation scheduler, bringing on a summer social worker focused on mental health needs of students experiencing homelessness, and partnering with the local housing authority to provide wrap-around support for accessing housing vouchers. To learn more about the survey and the other ways in which MPS plans to use ARP HCY funds, view this short presentation.

“Some families (33%) felt like there was no one at the school who provided support for their student experiencing homelessness, and that was a really big thing for us to see and realize through this survey.”
– Melissa Winship, Minneapolis Public Schools

Boston Public Schools

Without knowing how it would come to fruition, Boston Public Schools (BPS) began to lay the groundwork to begin housing partnerships approximately one year before ARP-HCY funds became available. The combination of ARP-HCY and ESSER funds provided an opportunity for BPS to initiate a unique partnership with the Boston Housing Authority and FamilyAid Boston. BPS contracts with FamilyAid Boston, a community-based organization, to provide housing navigation, case management, and housing vouchers to complement federal HUD and private donor funding. The housing vouchers are provided through a combination of public and private funding that does not supplant existing resources. 

FamilyAid used the ARP-HCY funds made available through the school district to increase their case management capacity. Case managers provide housing navigation to walk families through the process of preparing housing applications, searching for housing, and signing a lease. In addition, wraparound services are provided to the family, including case management for at least twelve months after the family becomes housed. The case manager works with families to connect them to health and mental health care, support for their social-emotional wellbeing, as well as other needed assistance.

BPS’ housing partnership has led to the development of a second initiative, the Emergency Homelessness Intervention Program. This program provides case management and wraparound services to increase family access to shelters, connect to health care partners, support social-emotional wellbeing, and connect families to financial assistance to break the cycle of homelessness. 

These partnerships have been critical components of the academic success of BPS students. Teachers are better able to work with students to meet academic needs because they have partnerships to meet non-academic needs. School staff are trained in making referrals to FamilyAid, and the McKinney-Vento points of contact in each school building support the referral process. 

“Even with forward thinking business office staff and agreement among our top leadership, there were still barriers to facilitate housing support on our own. Part of our plan was to have a seat at the table and a voice with providers. They have expertise that we don’t have to navigate housing barriers so that teachers can focus on teaching.” – Brian Marques, Senior Director, Department of Opportunity Youth

Richland County School District One, South Carolina

Richland County School District One is using ARP-HCY funds to increase the capacity of their McKinney-Vento program for the first time. The district has created two positions to support the work of the long-time homeless liaison. The first position funded with ARP-HCY will be an administrative assistant to support the overall work of the program. The second position is a case manager position who will focus on outreach and identification, as well as systems navigation, supporting the work of the liaison, and continuing to build up the program.  Richland One has lost students because of the pandemic and overall numbers are down. However, increasing staff capacity with ARP-HCY funds provides the opportunity to be intentional and deliberate in finding and supporting these students. 

In addition to adding staff members, Richland One will use ARP-HCY funds to support the work of a new partnership with the NAACP. Through a fellowship with law students from the University of South Carolina, the NAACP will provide clinics around the district to connect families with housing navigators and legal resources. The NAACP will provide trained housing navigators to walk families through housing issues ranging from eviction to tenant-landlord issues. Families will benefit from the pro-bono legal expertise provided, as well as the comprehensive connections to community resources. ARP-HCY funds will pay for school staff time to be available during the clinics, but the clinics themselves will not require funding, making this housing resource sustainable into the future. 

“I am excited because for the first time we are able to help with capacity which is a huge need in our district. I’m excited about the wonderful footprint this work will leave.”

-Deborah C. Boone, McKinney-Vento/PASS Coordinator

Ridgefield School District, Washington

When Ridgefield School District learned they’d be receiving ARP-HCY funds, the Assistant Director of Social Emotional Learning began to survey school staff, including counselors, administrators, connection mentors (social-emotional learning support staff), and the family resource center coordinator. District staff identified key needs of mental health services, tutoring, and transportation. The Assistant Director then surveyed every family identified as experiencing homelessness in the district. Families identified key needs of not feeling connected to school and needing more communication between home and school. The Assistant Director met with each student identified as an unaccompanied homeless youth at the high school level and learned that needs would have to be met on an individual basis.

Based on survey results, Camp Cope-A-Lot, an online curriculum, will be purchased to support mental health, stress and anxiety. Camp Cope-A-Lot is an online program to help kids learn coping strategies to manage stress and anxiety. Because the district has 1:1 chromebooks, students can access Camp Cope-A-Lot both at home and at school. In addition, the district also plans to purchase a family account that aligns with the student’s account.

Since the need for greater connections between school and home was identified, the district is working on a plan to better engage families through regular free and fun family events called “Growing Spudders”, modeled after an existing program at the district’s early learning center. The district plans to use ARP-HCY funds to purchase educational games for the family events, as well as use the events to provide opportunities to foster community. These events will also support increased identification, as more families are connecting with school and the homeless liaison.

In order to meet the individual needs of the district’s unaccompanied homeless youth, the district plans to use pre-paid Visa cards. The Assistant Director will be responsible for tracking the use of the pre-paid cards, including who received it, for what purpose, and other district tracking requirements.

“I always go back to my own lived experience. I would have attended school more if I would have had coping strategies to manage my stress and anxiety about missing school because of my living situation. I want to make sure to build connections, empathy and understanding between school and families. These funds are helping to make it possible.”
– Kataira Smith, Assistant Director of Social Emotional Learning and Homeless Liaison

Akron Public Schools, Ohio

Akron Public Schools (APS) typically receives McKinney-Vento subgrant funds and has a robust program to support students experiencing homelessness, providing intake staff to focus on identification and academic advocates for case management. Using ESSER funds, Akron Public Schools was able to increase staff capacity serving as academic advocates for students experiencing homelessness.

In deciding how to use ARP-HCY funds, APS prioritized sustainability in order to maintain programming beyond ARP funds. APS used ARP-HCY I funds for supplies to support attendance and engagement, such as hygiene products, clothing and food vouchers, but also contracted with the central intake office of their local United Way. With this contract, families have direct access to a housing navigator. The housing navigator also will be a point person for school staff when supporting families with housing instability. APS will collect and analyze data to evaluate this partnership, and pursue opportunities for funding through the United Way after ARP-HCY funds are no longer available.

Like many school districts across the nation, Akron Public Schools saw a decrease in numbers of students identified as homeless due to the challenges of identification during the pandemic and remote learning. Therefore, they also will use ARP-HCY funds for targeted marketing. APS has a contract with a local billboard company for four weeks of advertising now, and 4 weeks at the beginning of the year to increase awareness and identification of students.

In addition, ARP-HCY II funds will be used for professional development for staff. Using McKinney-Vento subgrant carryover funds, APS initiated the development of an online program to provide a simulation of homelessness and housing instability. ARP-HCY II funds will support the completion of the project, as well as support the use in schools and the community.

ARP-HCY II funds also are supporting the development of two important new partnerships to meet the needs of children and youth in APS. First, APS is partnering with Legal Aid to support families in navigating and working through housing and eviction needs, as well as other legal needs affecting housing. APS will conduct a legal assessment for families needing services, and refer them to the Legal Aid office for continuing work. This partnership will include both attorney hours and training for staff. Second, in addition to the APS partnership with Head Start, APS will begin to provide SPARK, a preschool program designed to support the kindergarten readiness of 3- and 4-year-olds. Through SPARK, a part-time staff person will provide curriculum and support twice a month in the homes of 25 early learners each year. Using data to demonstrate need and effectiveness, APS will look for funding sources through community partnerships to continue SPARK after ARP-HCY funds are no longer available.

“It’s different to have funding, in addition to the regular McKinney-Vento grant, so it’s a nice ‘problem’ to have. We are really looking at what needs we have, and what we can do better.”
-Shannah Carino, District Homeless Liaison and McKinney-Vento Specialist

Ridgefield School District, Washington 

When Ridgefield School District learned they’d be receiving ARP-HCY funds, the Assistant Director of Social Emotional Learning began to survey school staff, including counselors, administrators, connection mentors (social-emotional learning support staff), and the family resource center coordinator. District staff identified key needs of mental health services, tutoring, and transportation. The Assistant Director then surveyed every family identified as experiencing homelessness in the district. Families identified key needs of not feeling connected to school and needing more communication between home and school. The Assistant Director met with each student identified as an unaccompanied homeless youth at the high school level and learned that needs would have to be met on an individual basis.

Based on survey results, Camp Cope-A-Lot, an online curriculum, will be purchased to support mental health, stress and anxiety. Camp Cope-A-Lot is an online program to help kids learn coping strategies to manage stress and anxiety. Because the district has 1:1 chromebooks, students can access Camp Cope-A-Lot both at home and at school. In addition, the district also plans to purchase a family account that aligns with the student’s account.

Since the need for greater connections between school and home was identified, the district is working on a plan to better engage families through regular free and fun family events called “Growing Spudders”, modeled after an existing program at the district’s early learning center. The district plans to use ARP-HCY funds to purchase educational games for the family events, as well as use the events to provide opportunities to foster community. These events will also support increased identification, as more families are connecting with school and the homeless liaison.

In order to meet the individual needs of the district’s unaccompanied homeless youth, the district plans to use pre-paid Visa cards. The Assistant Director will be responsible for tracking the use of the pre-paid cards, including who received it, for what purpose, and other district tracking requirements.

“I always go back to my own lived experience. I would have attended school more if I would have had coping strategies to manage my stress and anxiety about missing school because of my living situation. I want to make sure to build connections, empathy and understanding between school and families. These funds are helping to make it possible.”
– Kataira Smith, Assistant Director of Social Emotional Learning and Homeless Liaison

Middletown Public Schools, Middletown, Rhode Island 

Using ESSER funds, Middletown Public Schools hired a full-time Family Services Coordinator due to the increased numbers of identified students experiencing homelessness, particularly among the multilingual learner population. When ARP-HCY Part I was distributed, the Family Services Coordinator began targeted communication and outreach to families to determine needs. Decisions on the best use of ARP-HCY funds were guided by these weekly communications and check-ins, during which time it became clear that families need support with food and winter clothing. The Family Services Coordinator uses ARP-HCY funds to purchase supermarket and store gift cards so families are able to purchase needed items. These gift cards are purchased in collaboration with the district business office, submitting purchase orders through existing store accounts.

In addition, the Family Services Coordinator determined that families need support with wraparound services. ARP-HCY funds are supporting after school transportation to the Boys and Girls Club for homework support and free meals so students end their days fed and with completed homework. The district is also providing mental health services in school buildings during school hours, in partnership with the community-based organization Newport Mental Health. The Family Services Coordinator hopes to use additional ARP-HCY funds to increase staff training in McKinney-Vento and best practices to support students.

 “I think that the flexibility of this funding has been such a huge help to homeless liaisons. There used to be more regulations on the funding but being able to use the money to help with food, phones, taxis as well as wraparound services has meant that we can be more on the front lines helping families in unconventional ways.”
– Megan Mainzer, Family Services Coordinator

New Philadelphia City Schools, Ohio

New Philadelphia City Schools has recently experienced an influx of students arriving from Guatemala. In a district of 3,100 students, hundreds are identified as English learners and unaccompanied homeless youth. These students arrive with limited educational experience and different educational expectations from their home country. This often means that in rain or snow, students arrive late or miss school altogether, as may be typical in their home country. In addition, New Philadelphia has a walk zone of one mile, and many of these students live just within the walk zone. The school social worker and the Federal Programs Coordinator collaborated to consider how ARP-HCY funds could support the attendance of this group of Guatemalan students identified as unaccompanied homeless youth. Using data, they determined that many of their unaccompanied middle and high school English Learners were not attending because of the lack of busing in the walk zone, and students simply aren’t wanting to walk that far so early in the morning or in inclement weather. 

As a result, the district decided to use ARP-HCY funds to purchase bikes to break down the barriers of attendance for the Guatemalan students and other students identified as experiencing homelessness. In addition, ARP-HCY funds will be used for minor remodeling of an existing on-site modular building to create a space for meeting student needs, including storage bins and clothing racks to organize student supplies. The modular will house the bikes for students, as well as hygiene and school supplies, clothing, shoes, and other basic needs for students experiencing homelessness. ARP-HCY funds will also cover the salary of a part-time staff person to organize and manage this space, providing a one-stop shop for students and school staff to meet the needs of students and provide bikes for transportation. The district will monitor the attendance of students utilizing bikes for transportation to determine the success of this model. Because there are many students in the district who ride bikes to school, this mode of transportation will not stigmatize the students experiencing homelessness. Finally, the district anticipates using ARP-HCY funds to purchase prepaid cell phones for students to maintain better connections and engagement with school. 

“We are excited to get this up and running and to really be able to help these kids. It will be possible because of the extra ARP-HCY funds. Many of these kids are largely unsupervised because they are unaccompanied homeless youth, but they are still expected to attend school. We believe providing bikes will help make that happen.”

– Laurie Hall, Federal Programs Coordinator

Minneapolis Public Schools, Minnesota

To better understand how their ARP-HCY funds should be spent, Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) developed a survey that was sent to students and parents experiencing homelessness, along with staff and community partners. Using current and past identified student information, MPS was able to use mini-grant funds received from Education Leads Home to provide gift cards for completing the survey, reaching over 200 unique students and parents of students experiencing homelessness. By asking questions about barriers, as well as what has helped students and families in the past, MPS identified three key areas to invest their ARP-HCY funds: transportation, basic needs, and mental health. They have matched those needs with ARP-HCY funds and taken steps toward hiring a transportation scheduler, bringing on a summer social worker focused on mental health needs of students experiencing homelessness, and partnering with the local housing authority to provide wrap-around support for accessing housing vouchers. To learn more about the survey and the other ways in which MPS plans to use ARP HCY funds, view this short presentation.

“Some families (33%) felt like there was no one at the school who provided support for their student experiencing homelessness, and that was a really big thing for us to see and realize through this survey.”
– Melissa Winship, Minneapolis Public Schools

Ridgefield School District, Washington 

When Ridgefield School District learned they’d be receiving ARP-HCY funds, the Assistant Director of Social Emotional Learning began to survey school staff, including counselors, administrators, connection mentors (social-emotional learning support staff), and the family resource center coordinator. District staff identified key needs of mental health services, tutoring, and transportation. The Assistant Director then surveyed every family identified as experiencing homelessness in the district. Families identified key needs of not feeling connected to school and needing more communication between home and school. The Assistant Director met with each student identified as an unaccompanied homeless youth at the high school level and learned that needs would have to be met on an individual basis.

Based on survey results, Camp Cope-A-Lot, an online curriculum, will be purchased to support mental health, stress and anxiety. Camp Cope-A-Lot is an online program to help kids learn coping strategies to manage stress and anxiety. Because the district has 1:1 chromebooks, students can access Camp Cope-A-Lot both at home and at school. In addition, the district also plans to purchase a family account that aligns with the student’s account.

Since the need for greater connections between school and home was identified, the district is working on a plan to better engage families through regular free and fun family events called “Growing Spudders”, modeled after an existing program at the district’s early learning center. The district plans to use ARP-HCY funds to purchase educational games for the family events, as well as use the events to provide opportunities to foster community. These events will also support increased identification, as more families are connecting with school and the homeless liaison.

In order to meet the individual needs of the district’s unaccompanied homeless youth, the district plans to use pre-paid Visa cards. The Assistant Director will be responsible for tracking the use of the pre-paid cards, including who received it, for what purpose, and other district tracking requirements.

“I always go back to my own lived experience. I would have attended school more if I would have had coping strategies to manage my stress and anxiety about missing school because of my living situation. I want to make sure to build connections, empathy and understanding between school and families. These funds are helping to make it possible.”
– Kataira Smith, Assistant Director of Social Emotional Learning and Homeless Liaison

New Philadelphia City Schools, Ohio

New Philadelphia City Schools has recently experienced an influx of students arriving from Guatemala. In a district of 3,100 students, hundreds are identified as English learners and unaccompanied homeless youth. These students arrive with limited educational experience and different educational expectations from their home country. This often means that in rain or snow, students arrive late or miss school altogether, as may be typical in their home country. In addition, New Philadelphia has a walk zone of one mile, and many of these students live just within the walk zone. The school social worker and the Federal Programs Coordinator collaborated to consider how ARP-HCY funds could support the attendance of this group of Guatemalan students identified as unaccompanied homeless youth. Using data, they determined that many of their unaccompanied middle and high school English Learners were not attending because of the lack of busing in the walk zone, and students simply aren’t wanting to walk that far so early in the morning or in inclement weather. 

As a result, the district decided to use ARP-HCY funds to purchase bikes to break down the barriers of attendance for the Guatemalan students and other students identified as experiencing homelessness. In addition, ARP-HCY funds will be used for minor remodeling of an existing on-site modular building to create a space for meeting student needs, including storage bins and clothing racks to organize student supplies. The modular will house the bikes for students, as well as hygiene and school supplies, clothing, shoes, and other basic needs for students experiencing homelessness. ARP-HCY funds will also cover the salary of a part-time staff person to organize and manage this space, providing a one-stop shop for students and school staff to meet the needs of students and provide bikes for transportation. The district will monitor the attendance of students utilizing bikes for transportation to determine the success of this model. Because there are many students in the district who ride bikes to school, this mode of transportation will not stigmatize the students experiencing homelessness. Finally, the district anticipates using ARP-HCY funds to purchase prepaid cell phones for students to maintain better connections and engagement with school. 

“We are excited to get this up and running and to really be able to help these kids. It will be possible because of the extra ARP-HCY funds. Many of these kids are largely unsupervised because they are unaccompanied homeless youth, but they are still expected to attend school. We believe providing bikes will help make that happen.”

– Laurie Hall, Federal Programs Coordinator

Durham Public Schools, North Carolina

Durham Public Schools utilizes multiple funding sources to provide extensive supports and services to their students experiencing homelessness. Using Title I, Part A funds, the LEA pays for the homeless liaison salary, as well as a McKinney-Vento social worker to identify and support students which, pre-pandemic, numbered over 1,000 . Title I, Part A funds also support salaries and transportation for the LEA’s tutoring program for identified students. Durham Public Schools also receive McKinney-Vento subgrant funds, which are used to provide tutoring and summer camp programming. 

With the LEA’s ARP-HCY funds, the LEA is prioritizing their focus on high school students. Unaccompanied homeless youth will have access to academic tutoring, ACT and SAT prep, FAFSA, and college essay writing support. The LEA is using funds to hire a youth case manager to intentionally meet the needs of these youth. Unaccompanied youth will also have access to two years of mental health support through the district.

In addition, the LEA is expanding tutoring at the elementary and middle school levels, bringing tutors into the buildings with the highest need to ensure direct access.

Durham currently has one shelter that youth over 18 can access. The LEA is using ARP-HCY funds to create a study space at the shelter to support re-engagement of youth and access to educational programming.  

“I’m excited because if it had not been for ARP-HCY funding, there is a lot we wouldn’t be able to do!”
– Ebony Ross, Homeless Liaison

Akron Public Schools, Ohio

Akron Public Schools (APS) typically receives McKinney-Vento subgrant funds and has a robust program to support students experiencing homelessness, providing intake staff to focus on identification and academic advocates for case management. Using ESSER funds, Akron Public Schools was able to increase staff capacity serving as academic advocates for students experiencing homelessness.

In deciding how to use ARP-HCY funds, APS prioritized sustainability in order to maintain programming beyond ARP funds. APS used ARP-HCY I funds for supplies to support attendance and engagement, such as hygiene products, clothing and food vouchers, but also contracted with the central intake office of their local United Way. With this contract, families have direct access to a housing navigator. The housing navigator also will be a point person for school staff when supporting families with housing instability. APS will collect and analyze data to evaluate this partnership, and pursue opportunities for funding through the United Way after ARP-HCY funds are no longer available.

Like many school districts across the nation, Akron Public Schools saw a decrease in numbers of students identified as homeless due to the challenges of identification during the pandemic and remote learning. Therefore, they also will use ARP-HCY funds for targeted marketing. APS has a contract with a local billboard company for four weeks of advertising now, and 4 weeks at the beginning of the year to increase awareness and identification of students.

In addition, ARP-HCY II funds will be used for professional development for staff. Using McKinney-Vento subgrant carryover funds, APS initiated the development of an online program to provide a simulation of homelessness and housing instability. ARP-HCY II funds will support the completion of the project, as well as support the use in schools and the community.

ARP-HCY II funds also are supporting the development of two important new partnerships to meet the needs of children and youth in APS. First, APS is partnering with Legal Aid to support families in navigating and working through housing and eviction needs, as well as other legal needs affecting housing. APS will conduct a legal assessment for families needing services, and refer them to the Legal Aid office for continuing work. This partnership will include both attorney hours and training for staff. Second, in addition to the APS partnership with Head Start, APS will begin to provide SPARK, a preschool program designed to support the kindergarten readiness of 3- and 4-year-olds. Through SPARK, a part-time staff person will provide curriculum and support twice a month in the homes of 25 early learners each year. Using data to demonstrate need and effectiveness, APS will look for funding sources through community partnerships to continue SPARK after ARP-HCY funds are no longer available.

“It’s different to have funding, in addition to the regular McKinney-Vento grant, so it’s a nice ‘problem’ to have. We are really looking at what needs we have, and what we can do better.”
-Shannah Carino, District Homeless Liaison and McKinney-Vento Specialist

Marion County Schools, Alabama 

Marion County Schools are leveraging local, state, and federal funds to provide layered supports for students experiencing homelessness, with a focus on basic needs, mental health, and supplemental instruction. In this predominantly rural area, there are fewer service agencies than in urban areas, making school the main provider of basic needs for students experiencing homelessness. After reviewing existing services provided through strong community partnerships, the school district decided to prioritize basic needs as a use of ARP-HCY funds. Marion County Schools have also been intentional about ensuring that students experiencing homelesness have access to all district-provided supports. For example, the mental health coordinator partners closely with the homeless liaison to ensure students experiencing homelessness have access to mental health supports provided to all students. School counselors are points of contact across 10 schools in 5 communities, allowing the homeless liaison to focus on working with community partners. The homeless liaison salary is paid out of the Title I, Part A homeless reservation, and additional counselor time is provided through the school district’s ARP ESSER funds. This layered support makes it possible for the homeless liaison to use her time to go out to schools and connect with community partners.

“You may have heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. That is our approach to providing for our homeless students. We take a personal approach to make sure identified students have the same opportunities as anyone else in our system. ARP-HCY funds have certainly made it possible to help ensure our mission of ‘Changing Children’s Lives’.”
-Kevin Dulaney, Federal Programs Director

Roanoke City Schools, Virginia

The Roanoke City Schools McKinney-Vento Program Coordinator is using ARP-HCY funds to increase program staff capacity. In addition to the coordinator, the program has employed a part-time staff person to provide support. Using ARP-HCY funds, the part-time position has become a full-time Outreach Specialist position to support the work of receiving referrals and determining eligibility of students. ARP-HCY funds also have been used to hire a part-time Family Outreach Specialist position to manage and distribute community donations to students and families, as well as supporting the LEAs work on chronic absenteeism with students experiencing homelessness.

Another focus of Roanoke’s ARP-HCY funding is to support unaccompanied homeless youth. Roanoke City Schools is using funds to support their “Senior Shine and Dine” event to celebrate the graduation and success of seniors identified as experiencing homleessness. ARP-HCY funds are paying for iPad purchases for seniors to work on college applications, FAFSA applications, and other postsecondary planning and transitions. The Program Coordinator is in the process of developing an additional program for seniors that will focus on independent living skills to provide tools for youth in the next stage of their college or career journey. ARP-HCY funds will pay for a school counselor to support the program outside of regular contract hours.

In addition, ARP-HCY funds have made it possible for Roanoke City Schools to hire a part-time licensed clinical social worker to support the creation of the aforementioned independent living skills program. The social worker will provide regular support and professional development to staff who experience secondary trauma from supporting McKinney-Vento students in crisis. The LEA has seen an increase in domestic violence situations as a result of the pandemic, so the social worker also will provide support to conduct an initial assessment of the family and student’s situation, as well as help accessing community organizations to support survivors of domestic violence.

The Program Coordinator will collect data on these initiatives, evaluate their effectiveness, and explore additional funding to sustain them.

“It’s too bad the additional funding is the result of a pandemic, but it’s bringing awareness to all the things we aren’t getting support for, especially with unaccompanied homeless youth. With ARP-HCY funds, I’m finally getting to try things that I’ve always wanted to do during my 19 years as the homeless liaison.”
-Malora Horn, Roanoke City Schools McKinney-Vento Program Coordinator

Wilbur Mills Education Service Cooperative, Beebe, Arkansas 

The Wilbur Mills Education Service Cooperative in central Arkansas is leading a consortium of 10 school districts to use ARP-HCY funds to hire a systems navigator.The co-op staff met with the state homeless education coordinator, school district superintendents, homeless liaisons, counselors and other district staff members to determine the region’s needs. One emerging theme was the need to create and sustain a systems navigator position. The systems navigator will assist the 10 school districts in establishing community and cross-community partnerships with nonprofit organizations. The navigator also will collaborate with Every Arkansan and Bright Futures, two organizations with which the state education agency is contracting using ARP-HCY funds to develop a statewide rapid response system to meet the immediate needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The Wilbur Mills Education Service Cooperative systems navigator will be a two-year position and will work to create sustainable practices that will continue when ARP-HCY funding has ended.

“We are excited to be a part of this work that we know will lead to more effective and efficient services/care for our children.”
– Leasha Hayes, Wilbur Mills Education Service Cooperative

Middletown Public Schools, Middletown, Rhode Island 

Using ESSER funds, Middletown Public Schools hired a full-time Family Services Coordinator due to the increased numbers of identified students experiencing homelessness, particularly among the multilingual learner population. When ARP-HCY Part I was distributed, the Family Services Coordinator began targeted communication and outreach to families to determine needs. Decisions on the best use of ARP-HCY funds were guided by these weekly communications and check-ins, during which time it became clear that families need support with food and winter clothing. The Family Services Coordinator uses ARP-HCY funds to purchase supermarket and store gift cards so families are able to purchase needed items. These gift cards are purchased in collaboration with the district business office, submitting purchase orders through existing store accounts.

In addition, the Family Services Coordinator determined that families need support with wraparound services. ARP-HCY funds are supporting after school transportation to the Boys and Girls Club for homework support and free meals so students end their days fed and with completed homework. The district is also providing mental health services in school buildings during school hours, in partnership with the community-based organization Newport Mental Health. The Family Services Coordinator hopes to use additional ARP-HCY funds to increase staff training in McKinney-Vento and best practices to support students.

 “I think that the flexibility of this funding has been such a huge help to homeless liaisons. There used to be more regulations on the funding but being able to use the money to help with food, phones, taxis as well as wraparound services has meant that we can be more on the front lines helping families in unconventional ways.”
– Megan Mainzer, Family Services Coordinator

American Rescue Plan Homeless Children and Youth Funding Consulting

New funding is on the way to support children and youth experiencing homelessness. If you’ve never received such dedicated funding, you may be unsure where to even begin.

We can support with needs assessments, strategic program planning, goal-setting, professional development, policy and procedure development, and specific best practices for student success.

ARP-HCY WEBINARS

Timing, Allocation, Application, and Uses of ARP Homeless Funds

[Recorded July 27, 2021]

Building a FAFSA Mentor Program with ARP HCY Funds

[Recorded December 1, 2021]

If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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