On November 10, the U.S. Senate released its FY2021 spending bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, as well as other agencies. The U.S. House of Representatives passed its FY2021 Labor-HHS-ED spending bill, H.R. 7614, on July 13.

The Senate Labor-HHS-ED bill proposes level funding in FY2021 for the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program at $101.5 million. This is in slight contrast to the $102.7 million proposal included in the House bill, H.R. 7614.

The Senate bill also includes level funding for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs, at $132.4 million. This is in contrast to the House’s proposal of $140 million. If enacted, the House’s proposal would represent a 5.74% increase in RHYA funding since FY2020.

While budget caps have hindered large FY21 spending increases across federal agencies, the failure of both House and Senate appropriations bills to recognize the unmet need of children and youth experiencing homelessness — and the only federal programs targeted to serving them — is deeply troubling. 

Report Language on Homelessness

In addition to funding for the EHCY and RHYA programs, the Senate bill added report language recognizing the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for holding regional listening sessions in 2019 on youth and family homelessness. The Committee urges the ACF to select and implement promising recommendations that emerged from its 2019 listening sessions, and to expand its work on family and youth homelessness through program-specific Information Memoranda, program instructions, data collection, conventions, training, etc. SHC is advocating to preserve this language in the full House and Senate.

The House bill added language urging the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to support local educational agency plans that describe the amount of funding reserved for homeless students under Title I Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, how such amount was determined, and the amount of the prior year’s reservation that was spent on homeless students. The House language also urges ED to support state plans on how the state will monitor the amount and use of funds reserved for homeless students and provide technical assistance to assist LEAs in effectively using Title I funds to support homeless students.

Other Federal Programs

The chart below provides recent and proposed funding levels for selected programs supporting children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness.

Next Steps

The House and Senate must reconcile the differences between their bills by December 11, unless a new Continuing Resolution is passed to continue to fund the government.

Action Needed

Please contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative and urge them to support additional funding for 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.

  1. Use this action form to personalize a template letter to be sent to your Members of Congress, requesting their support for the EHCY and RHYA programs.
  2. Meet with your Members of Congress, or their staff, to advocate on behalf of these programs; SHC is happy to facilitate this. For SHC to organize a virtual meeting between you, your Member of Congress, or a member of their staff, please sign up with this form.

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