Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education FY2024 funding bill (LHHS). Key provisions related to children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness include:
- $129 million in funding for the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program, the same as the FY 2023 level.
- Importantly, the bill would make FY2023 and FY2024 EHCY funding available for expenditure by state and local educational agencies for an additional fiscal year.
- $146.3 million for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) program, the same as the FY 2023 level.
- $3 million for a demonstration program at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify and implement strategies and services to prevent homelessness for youth between ages 12 and 26.
- Directions for the U.S. Department of Education to provide greater oversight, technical assistance, and reporting to ensure sufficient reservations of Title I Part A funds for students experiencing homelessness.
- Report language urging ACF to assess the strengths, barriers, and opportunities across ACF and HHS to provide two-generation services to end the cycle of homelessness for children, youth, and families, and to develop a plan to lead and coordinate efforts to provide holistic services to break the cycle of homelessness, including by identifying existing resources and gaps.
The Senate bill, which was passed on a bipartisan basis, differs sharply from the FY24 education funding bill that was passed by the House Appropriations Subcommittee earlier this month. While both bills would provide flat funding for the EHCY and RHYA programs, the House bill would cut Title I Part A funding by 80% and eliminate other critical education programs, such as Title III (Language Instruction for English Learners) and Preschool Development Grants. These programs are a critical source of support for children and youth experiencing homelessness as well as other vulnerable students.
Both chambers of Congress are in recess until September, making August a critical time to share information and educate lawmakers. You can do so by taking one or more of the following steps:
Action #1: Educate your Members of Congress
Arrange to meet virtually or in person with your U.S. Representative or U.S. Senators, or their staff, to educate them about the urgent need to support the highest possible levels of funding for the EHCY and RHYA programs, and to protect against cuts to other key programs.
- Use our data profiles to find information on child and youth homelessness in your state and Congressional district.
- You can be connected directly to your Members’ offices by using the Congressional Switchboard at 202.224.3121, or you can find their contact information here. If you’d like assistance setting up meetings with your elected officials, please email Rodd Monts. (Interested in advocacy? Please join our Advocacy Network)
Action #2: Use the Online Action Form
Use the online action form, here, to personalize a letter that you can send to your Members of Congress, requesting their support for the EHCY and RHYA programs and urging them to protect against cuts to other vital programs.
Action #3: Spread the Word on Social Media
Use social media to educate and mobilize friends and colleagues to engage with their lawmakers to support the highest possible levels of EHCY and RHYA funding and to protect against cuts to other key programs. Below are some sample social media posts you can use:
- Use this action form ➡️ bit.ly/3ZuAMeM ⬅️ to urge your Members of Congress to support the highest possible levels of EHCY & RHYA funding for children and youth experiencing #homelessness.
- Find congressional district data on #homelessness ➡️ bit.ly/3RR48Ca ⬅️ then urge your Members of Congress to support funding for the EHCY and RHYA programs, and to protect against cuts to other key programs. DM @SchoolHouseConn if you need help setting up a meeting!
Information about EHCY and RHYA
EHCY and RHYA are the only two federal programs that specifically target the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The EHCY program is the only federal education program that removes barriers to school identification, enrollment, attendance, and success caused by homelessness. No other federal education program has the responsibility for and expertise in finding, engaging, and serving students who are experiencing homelessness. Local liaisons help identify homeless children and youth, ensure school access and stability, provide direct services, and coordinate with community agencies to meet basic needs. RHYA programs prevent trafficking, identify survivors, and provide services to runaway, homeless, and disconnected youth, yet only 25% of applicants currently receive funding.