On June 28, the Senate appropriations committee passed S. 3158, a bill that would increase FY2019 funding for the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program by 10%, from $85 million to $93.5 million. The bill maintains funding for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) program at $127.3 million. The bill next moves to the Senate floor for a vote.

Meanwhile, the House appropriations committee released its FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill earlier in the month. The House legislation maintains funding for the EHCY program at the FY2018 level of $85 million, and includes funding for the RHYA program at $121.4 million. This legislation is expected to be considered by the House Appropriations Committee in July.

Both House and Senate appropriations bills include funding for essential early care programs, including Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant. These programs contain specific requirements for identification, outreach, enrollment, and prioritization for families experiencing homelessness.

Funding for higher education programs also was maintained or increased in both bills, including TRIO and campus-based aid programs. The Senate bill increases the maximum Pell grant award and continues support for Year-Round Pell.

We urge readers to communicate with your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative in support of the only two federal programs specifically targeted to supporting homeless children and youth – the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program (EHCY) and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs. Please consider meeting with your Members of Congress, or their staff, when they are back in the district. If you’d like advice on setting up a meeting, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.

If a meeting isn’t possible, please consider sending a letter and getting as many community members as possible to sign it. We’ve created a sample letter in Microsoft Word. Download the letter, edit it, and send one version to your U.S. Representative, and one version to both of your U.S. Senators.

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