The Pennsylvania Department of Education is set to release more than $24 million to identify homeless children and youth, provide wraparound services due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and make it easier for students to participate in in-person instruction and extracurricular activities at school.
“Since taking office, my administration has been committed to supporting all of Pennsylvania’s students, from Pre-K to postsecondary, particularly our most vulnerable students, like those experiencing homelessness,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “Our commonwealth has a world-class education system, and this funding will ensure that all students are able to access and benefit from our schools, educators and extracurricular activities.”
The Homeless Children and Youth funding is a subset of the federal American Rescue Plan Act Emergency and Secondary School Emergency Relief program.
The ARP-HCY fund will allocate 25 percent of the funding to the state’s eight McKinney-Vento funded regional offices and the remaining 75 percent will be distributed to school districts and charter schools based on the amount of Title I Part A schools received under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and the number of identified homeless children and youth served during the 2018-19 school year.
“All students should have access to a high-quality education regardless of their background, economic circumstances or housing arrangement, and homeless students need intentional, strategic support,” said Education Secretary Dr. Noe Ortega. “This critical funding will help students experiencing homelessness access the resources and assistance they need to be a part of their school community, learn, grow and thrive.”
For the 2019-20 program year, education and community agencies identified 37,930 children and youth experiencing homelessness served by Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program. The population includes children under the age of 5 and youth enrolled in Pre-K through grade 12.