USED Issues Dear Colleague Letter on Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness

September 14, 2023

On September 12, USED Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Programs Adam Schott wrote a Dear Colleague letter to Chief State School Officers with recommendations for the use of American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief – Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) funds to support students experiencing homelessness. The letter notes that like the other tranches of ARP funds, the HCY funds must be obligated by September 30, 2024, and reminds leaders that “any activity allowable under the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program in section 723(d) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is also allowable under the ARP-HCY program.” Assistant Secretary Schott writes that State Chiefs should consider “whether modifying State and/or local administrative processes, such as budget amendment and procurement processes, might expedite the deployment of these resources.”

In addition to pointing to resources available through USED’s National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), the letter shares a range of strategies under three main categories: (1) improving attendance and reducing chronic absenteeism; (2) addressing physical and mental health needs; and (3) strengthening early childhood education, supporting college and career readiness, and smoothing transitions to higher education. Assistant Secretary Schott also references a tip sheet that the NCHE developed in 2022 to help leaders determine allowable uses of ARP-HCY funds. The letter concludes, “please take a moment this week to share this letter with your subgrantees, remind them of the critical need to invest these resources now to support especially vulnerable students and young people, and urge them to examine whether adjustments to local policies and procedures might allow ARP-HCY funds to have further impact.”

SchoolHouse Connection, experts on the early care and education of children and youth experiencing homelessness, will be hosting two webinars on September 14 and 21 about supporting these homeless students. More information and registration information can be found here.