ARP-HCY Resource GuideThis guide outlines suggestions and resources for effectively utilizing American Rescue Plan Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) funds.
Section 2001(b)(1) of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) Homeless I designates that funds can be used on the same authorized activities as under the Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program (42 United States Code [U.S.C.] sections 11431-11435).
Below you will find:
- Sixteen EHCY authorized activities,
- The additional ARP Homeless I authorized activities that are allowable with ARP Homeless I funds, and
- A resource list of and strategies for county offices of education (COEs), districts, school sites and community-based organizations.
EHCY Authorized Activities
Activities authorized under EHCY are as follows:
- The provision of tutoring, supplemental instruction, and enriched educational services that are linked to the achievement of the same challenging State academic standards as the State establishes for other children and youths;
- The provision of expedited evaluations of the strengths and needs of homeless children and youths, including needs and eligibility for programs and services (such as educational programs for gifted and talented students, children with disabilities, and English learners, services provided under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 [20 U.S.C. Section 6301 et seq.] or similar State or local programs, programs in career and technical education, and school nutrition programs);
- Professional development and other activities for educators and specialized instructional support personnel that are designed to heighten the understanding and sensitivity of such personnel to the needs of homeless children and youths, the rights of such children and youths under this part, and the specific educational needs of runaway and homeless youths;
- The provision of referral services to homeless children and youths for medical, dental, mental, and other health services;
- The provision of assistance to defray the excess cost of transportation for students under section 11432(g)(4)(A) of this title, not otherwise provided through Federal, State, or local funding, where necessary to enable students to attend the school selected under section 11432(g)(3) of this title;
- The provision of developmentally appropriate early childhood education programs, not otherwise provided through Federal, State, or local funding, for preschool-aged homeless children;
- The provision of services and assistance to attract, engage, and retain homeless children and youths, particularly homeless children and youths who are not enrolled in school, in public school programs and services provided to non-homeless children and youths;
- The provision for homeless children and youths of before- and after-school, mentoring, and summer programs in which a teacher or other qualified individual provides tutoring, homework assistance, and supervision of educational activities;
- If necessary, the payment of fees and other costs associated with tracking, obtaining, and transferring records necessary to enroll homeless children and youths in school, including birth certificates, immunization or other required health records, academic records, guardianship records, and evaluations for special programs or services;
- The provision of education and training to the parents and guardians of homeless children and youths about the rights of, and resources available to, such children and youths, and other activities designed to increase the meaningful involvement of parents and guardians of homeless children or youths in the education of such children or youths;
- The development of coordination between schools and agencies providing services to homeless children and youths, as described in section 11432(g)(5) of this title;
- The provision of specialized instructional support services (including violence prevention counseling) and referrals for such services;
- Activities to address the particular needs of homeless children and youths that may arise from domestic violence and parental mental health or substance abuse problems;
- The adaptation of space and purchase of supplies for any non-school facilities made available under subsection (a)(2) to provide services under this subsection;
- The provision of school supplies, including those supplies to be distributed at shelters or temporary housing facilities, or other appropriate locations; and,
- The provision of other extraordinary or emergency assistance needed to enable homeless children and youths to attend school and participate fully in school activities.
ARP Homeless I Authorized Activities
Activities authorized under ARP Homeless I are as follows:
- The provision of wraparound services (which could be provided in collaboration with and/or through contracts with community-based organizations, and could include academic supports, trauma-informed care, social-emotional support, and mental health services);
- The provision of needed supplies (e.g., Per-Pupil Expenditure, eyeglasses, school supplies, personal care items);
- The provision of transportation to enable children and youth to attend classes and participate fully in school activities;
- The purchase of cell phones or other technological devices for unaccompanied youth to enable the youth to attend and fully participate in school activities;
- The provision of access to reliable, high-speed internet for students through the purchase of internet connected devices/equipment, mobile hotspots, wireless service plans, or installation of Community Wi-Fi Hotspots (e.g., at homeless shelters), especially in underserved communities;
- Paying for short-term, temporary housing (e.g., a few days in a motel) when such emergency housing is the only reasonable option for COVID-safe temporary housing and when necessary to enable the homeless child or youth to attend school and participate fully in school activities (including summer school); and,
- The provision of store cards/prepaid debit cards to purchase materials necessary for students to participate in school activities.
Strategies, Examples and Resources
Here are several examples of ways to use funding specifically dedicated to support the identification, enrollment, and school participation of children and youth experiencing homelessness, including through wrap-around services:
Increased staff, increased hours, onsite professional development and personnel:
- Outreach case manager position
- Family specialist for McKinney-Vento outreach and education: train community partners, school staff, and families in multiple languages
- Outreach and identification team: for motels, hotels and high-density apartments or other housing
- Additional staff to assist with identification, care management (social-emotional and medical) and consultation for smaller, rural, frontier, and charter local educational agencies
- School site-based liaisons—existing staff, but add hours and staff support to ensure school site liaisons—school counselors, assistant principals, attendance clerks, health staff, front desk staff, etc.
- Wellness case managers to support and partners with community agencies and local housing agencies
- Hire short term staff, retired homeless liaisons for help and to build capacity
- Stipends for students with bachelors or masters in social work as interns to support with identification and reengagement.
- Stipends for school site liaisons (see #4 mentioned above for best fit of on-site liaisons)
- Staff to work directly with community health agencies: attend street nurses, conduct online school registration, and provide tutoring
- Street teams: identification, home visits, partner with early education home visiting programs. Assist with online school registration to make services faster and ensure eligibility
Engagement and Re-Engagement
How to engage, plan, and collaborate on program operation with community partners, students, staff, and families, and leverage existing programs in the design and implementation of services:
- Computer and literacy training for youth
- Purchase headphones and wireless earpieces as a part of a back to school packet
- Drop-in center for homeless children and youth in partnership with school services, community agencies for students and/or Continuum of Care/housing partners: the center would be in proximity to school sites and include snacks, computers, workshops for youth and families, job search support, housing support, haircuts, computer camps, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion assistance, exercise, and outdoor activities
- Servicing and connecting to local communities: migrant, tribal, cultural, religious, medical, etc. Active participant in annual events such as: migrant resource fair, health fairs, recruitment fairs, festivals, and family events to target homeless students
- Summer enrichment: Diversity and Inclusion Video Exhibition into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, robotics, computer skills using Roblox and Minecraft, developing a leadership academy with cohorts of students and utilizing our outdoor education center and teaching leadership skills, and empowering our youth with a drone class where students will be certified and can work as a drone operator
- Computer camp for seniors: college transition skills, raffle, family event, recruitment, FAFSA completion, etc.
- Expanding summer, afterschool and other school breaks events for students: stipends to youth for a three-day youth summit that focuses on academic success, transition to college/career, etc.
- Work with our parks and recreation to pay for sports scholarships so that kids can participate in local sports like basketball, t-ball, etc.
- Motivational and inspiring speakers’ series
- Tutoring, summer employment readiness, internship programs, and youth advisory boards
- Video series to do outreach and educate: student- and family-driven by staff with lived experiences
Coordination, collaboration, and program sustainability. Internal and external system improvement and reciprocity among counterparts:
- Hotel stay: back packs including goods, school supplies, and information on McKinney-Vento
- Work with health and human services agencies for wraparound services
- Coordinate with Public Housing Authority and/or Continuum of Care to work on the administration of Emergency Housing Vouchers with the support from the Homeless Education Liaisons and Coordinators to set the priorities for the identification of these families and youth
- Washers and dryers for students at the high school for afterschool use
- Storage space rental for supplies
- Mini grants to non-funded local educational agencies (LEAs) to build capacity: charters, smaller districts, turnover, etc.
- Short term housing and emergency vouchers for hotels, as well as eviction prevention and one-time rental assistance. Prioritizing families and youth who do not qualify for shelters or who do not qualify for other federal funds due to immigration status, age, gender or family separation, among other barriers
Data and Training
Analysis, investments, screenings and training:
- Increase data analysis staff for follow up and support staff. Incorporate into existing systems and mirror data analysis
- Navigation tools for staff
- “Have You Seen This Student” screening, re-connecting students and youths with families
- Address search: motel, hotel, shelter and doubled up situations
- Sacramento COE Project TEACH REVISED 4 (Video; 11:56)
- Public School Works also has a free component that can be added on to mandated reporter, sexual harassment, etc.
- Yuba COE McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Video; 10:45)
- Stockton Unified School District Families in Transition (Video; 6:36)
- National Center for Homeless Education: Self-Paced Online Training
- SchoolHouse Connection Facebook page: New Training & Awareness videos
- Right to Enroll in School for Unaccompanied Youth (Video; 2:35)
Special Notes and Recommendations
All strategies and suggestions are contributions by LEAs throughout the state and at the national level and are suggested with the intent to remove a barrier to the students’ education. For all purchases and strategies, it is recommended that you consult with your legal and financial departments.
Gift Cards for Engagement or Re-Engagement
Including “What Do We Call Them?”, an external motivator/student engagement strategy/award/contribution/encouragement offering. Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education states that "store cards/prepaid debit cards can be used to purchase materials necessary for students to participate in school activities."
- Look at local agency grants. One LEA applied for Ross Cards and Walmart grants and received $2,500 for shoes/extra items
- Purchase gift cards for retention and engagement, making sure to align to LEA policies and procedures
- Example of "services to attract, engage students": day camp or “experience” like museums that are beginning to open up and are academic related
- Coordinate with higher education for summer course or classes such as kayaking, surfing, rock climbing, etc.
- Student Transportation Solutions
- Hop, Skip and Drive was mentioned numerous times. Common observations include high prices and fingerprinting, but some LEAs use it in partnership with their COE
- LEA contracts with local bus services which are helpful since our bus routes are not back to normal yet. This has been a much more cost-efficient option than others. Links to Transportation MOUs:
- Although this guide is for Foster Care, there may be questions and considerations for meeting with Transportation staff in your district. The SchoolHouse Connection (PDF) can help. There are a number of sample Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) (again, mostly for Foster Care) but because laws for School of Origin and Best Interest in the State of California align for homeless and foster care, they can be utilized:
- Sample MOU Transportation Procedures Agreement (DOCX)
- MOU – Every Student Succeeds Act Transportation Claiming Under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (PDF)