SchoolHouse Connection and National Network for Youth hosted a webinar on Wednesday, March 16, that discussed the American Rescue Plan Act and what it means for children and youth experiencing homelessness. This webinar was meant to think through pieces of this package and how to help children and youth access all the support they can.
Education and Early Childhood includes $800 million to identify children and youth experiencing homelessness, provide them with wrap-around services in light of COVID-19, and assistance to attend and participate in school. It has yet to be determined how the funds will flow to state and local education agencies, the timing and duration of funds, and other significant details. Still, it is suggested to begin considering needs and how to maximize and leverage funds for children.
Tax Credits include an extended Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for unaccompanied homeless and foster youth at the age of 18. In addition, Child Tax Credits are expanded to up to $3,600 per child under 6 years old and $3,000 between 6 and 17 years old.
Early Childhood and Resources includes $1 billion to Head Start, $1 billion for home visiting programs, and $15 billion for The Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), including $24 billion for childcare providers. Under the McKinney-Vento Act’s education subtitle, children experiencing homelessness must be prioritized for Head Start and federally funded childcare.
Food and Nutrition Support through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) programs are extended to school-age and young children for the summer and through the end of the COVID-19 health crisis. Here is a resource on helping homeless and foster children access P-EBT.
HUD Homeless and Housing Funds include $5 billion allocated for homelessness assistance through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. Those who are eligible for this assistance meet HUD’s definition of homelessness or HUD’s definition of at-risk of homelessness, persons fleeing or attempting to flee situations of domestic abuse, trafficking, or stalking, or populations for whom supportive services would prevent family’s homelessness. The use of these funds would go to tenant-based rental assistance, affordable housing development, supportive services, and the acquisition of shelters and permanent affordable housing.