Under the CARES Act, these flexible grants are for Governors to provide local educational agencies (LEAs), institutions of higher education (IHEs), and other education-related entities with emergency assistance to respond to the coronavirus. Each state has until June 1, 2020, to submit a signed certification and agreement (or application) to the Department.
In Part C of the application, “Uses of Governor’s Emergency Education Funds,” the second question addresses the needs of students experiencing homelessness specifically: “a. Please describe the strategies used to serve disadvantaged populations listed in Sec. 18003(d)(4) of the CARES Act.” The populations listed in the cited section of the CARES Act include students experiencing homelessness, as well as foster care youth, English learners, children with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, and low-income students.
In addition, Governor’s Emergency Education Funds specifically can be used to provide support “for authorized activities described in section 18003(d)(1) of this title.” (See the last paragraph of page 1 of the application.) This reference specifically includes activities authorized by the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education of Homeless Children and Youth Program.
Given the many urgent needs related to COVID-19, it is unlikely that Governors’ offices will prioritize the needs of McKinney-Vento students without specific advocacy. SchoolHouse Connection has created a state education leader checklist that can be shared with your state educational agency leaders, partners in the Governor’s office, and other advocates, to help explain why some Emergency Education Funds should be targeted specifically to meet the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness. We also have created an “Opportunities for Impact” overview that summarizes the results of our COVID-19 survey on homelessness.
ED is expected to release applications for $13 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds next week. Those funds also include specific allowable uses for students experiencing homelessness. We will provide more information as soon as the application becomes available.