Federal Policy

Congress Passes Final FY2024 Budget

On Saturday, March 23rd, Congress passed the final FY2024 budget package.

Despite our best attempts – and the strong bipartisan advocacy of 32 U.S. Senators led by U.S. Senators Murkowski (R-AK), Manchin (D-WV), and Sinema (I-AZ) – the package does not extend the obligation deadline for the American Rescue Plan – Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY funds). 

Fierce opposition from some lawmakers to any provision related to pandemic aid, coupled with a chaotic and rushed legislative process, resulted in this proposal being left out of the agreement. 

In addition, the midnight deadline meant that no votes could be taken on amendments that would actually pass, because that would have required the bill to be sent back to the House, which would have caused a government shutdown.  

This is a deeply disappointing outcome. 

It means that state and local educational agencies – many of whom have not prioritized ARP-HCY funds or have faced administrative challenges in using these funds – will scramble to meet an arbitrary deadline at a time when child and youth homelessness is worse than it was during the pandemic.  

We know that many of you took part in advocacy to urge your Members of Congress to support the ARP-HCY extension. That advocacy mattered, and will continue to matter as we pivot to the FY2025 budget and the continuing need to educate policymakers on the importance of increased dedicated funding for students experiencing homelessness.

The final FY2024 package does contain some helpful provisions that resulted from our collective advocacy, including:

  • An additional year of availability for FY2023 and FY2024 McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) funding. This longer runway for EHCY may help some states focus more time and energy on using ARP-HCY funds. However, it will not benefit the four out of five local educational agencies (LEAs) who do not receive EHCY funding due to the low national appropriations level.
  • Requirements for the U.S. Department of Education to provide greater oversight of and transparency on Title I Part A reservations of funds for children and youth experiencing homelessness. More robust utilization of the Title I Part A reservation for homeless students may help some LEAs sustain some ARP-HCY programming.
  • Requirements for the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop (and report to Congress) a plan to lead and coordinate efforts to provide holistic services to homeless children, youth, and families to break the cycle of homelessness through a two-generational approach, including identifying gaps in resources.

In addition to these provisions, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently announced a process for state education agencies (SEAs) to apply for more time to spend ARP-HCY funds that have been obligated by the September 30, 2024 deadline. Our advocacy also was instrumental in that decision. We urge all SEAs to apply for extended liquidation to help ensure that ARP-HCY funds are maximized to support students experiencing homelessness, and we offer our support in that application process.

SHC will continue to advocate for greater investment and greater flexibility in funding to support students experiencing homelessness because the simple fact is that without specific, targeted, and flexible funding to identify students experiencing homelessness and remove barriers to their enrollment and attendance, some of our nation’s most vulnerable students will be deprived of the education that continues to be their surest path to a brighter future.

Child and Youth Homelessness Provisions in the Final FY2024 Budget