Federal Policy, Resources

The Education of Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness: Current Trends, Challenges, and Needs

Student Homelessness Has Increased Since The Pandemic, Creating A Greater Need For Targeted Support

The Chronic Absence Rate Of Students Experiencing Homelessness Is More Than Double The Rate Of All Students And Was Exacerbated By The Pandemic.

Students Experiencing Homelessness Graduate At Significantly Lower Rates Than Students From Families with Low Incomes Who Are Stably Housed.

Students With Disabilities, English Learners, And Students Of Color Are Over-Represented Among Students Experiencing Homelessness.

The Mckinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children And Youth (EHCY) Program Is The Only Federal Education Program That Removes Barriers To School Identification, Enrollment, Attendance, And Success Caused By Homelessness.

No other federal program has the responsibility for and expertise in finding, engaging, and serving these students and upholding their educational rights. Local education liaisons help identify homeless children and youth, ensure school access and stability, provide direct services, and coordinate with community agencies to meet basic needs. EHCY subgrants are used for outreach and identification, enrollment assistance, transportation, school records transfer, immunization referrals, tutoring, counseling, school supplies, professional development for educators and community organizations, and referrals for community services.

The FY2023 Appropriation For The EHCY Program Was $129 Million. At This Funding Level, Approximately One In Four School Districts Will Receive An EHCY Subgrant.

Limited funding hinders the ability of schools to identify homeless students, ensure their access to school and to other federal education programs, and leverage community supports.

A Bipartisan Amendment To The American Rescue Plan Act Provided $800 Million In Funding Specifically Dedicated To Support The Identification, Enrollment, And School Participation Of Children And Youth Experiencing Homelessness, Including Through Wrap-Around Services

These funds, known as American Rescue Plan — Homeless Children and Youth Funds (ARP-HCY), have reached over half of all school districts to date — more than double the number of school districts reached with previous annual funding allocations. Subgrant funds allow schools to better identify, re-engage, and stabilize children and youth experiencing homelessness during the pandemic recovery.

Congress should provide $800 million in FY2025 for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program.

In light of the lingering impacts of the pandemic, the accompanying economic fall-out, and research showing that not completing high school is the greatest single risk factor for experiencing homelessness as a young person, ongoing support for students experiencing homelessness is needed. An appropriation of $800 million, less than 2% of the total federal K-12 education budget, would allow at least half of all school districts nationwide to continue to receive dedicated funds to identify and support these students when ARP-HCY expires.