Original article written by Annalise Knudson for Silive
The US Department of Education (USDE) announced in April that New York state will receive more than $58 million in funds to support students experiencing homelessness under the American Rescue Plan. The department plans to distribute $800 million to states to help support the needs of students experiencing homelessness under the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief - Homeless Children and Youth fund. In addition to the announcement, USDE issued a letter to chief state school officers underscoring the need to use this funding to identify children and youth experiencing homelessness, provide wraparound services in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and provide assistance to enable homeless children and youth to attend school and participate fully in school activities, including in-person instruction this spring and upcoming summer learning and enrichment programs.
“The pandemic made the inequities in our education system even worse, especially for students experiencing homelessness,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, in the press release. “As districts and schools return to in-person learning, we must act with urgency to provide all students, including students experiencing homelessness, equitable access to high-quality learning environments and the resources to help meet their basic needs which schools often provide.” The announcement comes as the Biden administration works to safely reopen the majority of K-8 schools in his first 100 days under the American Rescue Plan, which works to provide funding needed to get children back in school and parents back to work.
The New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students, a project of Advocates for Children of New York (AFC), released data in December of students who experienced homelessness in New York state and New York City during the 2019-2020 school year. The data was compiled from the New York State Education Department’s Student Information Repository System (SIRS). In New York State overall, 143,533 students identified as homeless during that school year. In New York City school districts and charter schools, 111,606 students identified as homeless, with more than 32,700 students living in NYC shelters and about 73,000 living “doubled-up” in temporary housing situations with relatives, friends or others.
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