Early this morning, Congress passed budget legislation to keep the government open until March 23. The legislation provides nearly $90 billion in emergency disaster relief for states and communities affected by recent hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters, and contains a two-year agreement setting defense and nondefense spending levels for FY2018 and FY2019.
The disaster relief provides funding to public schools and institutions of higher education impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, or wildfires in 2017 for which a major federal disaster or emergency has been declared.
- $25 million for LEAs serving homeless children and youths displaced by the hurricanes or wildfires, for services allowed under section 723 of the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program (42 U.S.C. 11433). Funds shall be disbursed based on demonstrated need and the number of homeless children and youth enrolled as a result of displacement.
- Up to $75 million to higher education institutions to help defray unexpected expenses associated with enrolling students displaced from affected areas.
- $100 million for higher education institutions in affected areas, with priority given to students who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless as a result of displacement, to the extent possible.
- $35 million for Project SERV (Project School Emergency Response to Violence) for education-related services to help students recover from traumatic events, including natural disasters.
- $650 million for Head Start for construction and related costs for Head Start centers damaged by the hurricanes or wildfires, and related services for children and families.
SchoolHouse Connection would like to recognize the tireless work of McKinney-Vento state coordinators and school district liaisons for all they do to support children, youth, and families, and for responding to our requests for data and information to make the case for this additional funding for the EHCY program. At least 50,000 school-age children and youth experienced homelessness due to disasters in 2017 and have been enrolled in school.
The passage of the budget measure means that Congress can continue its work to finalize FY2018 appropriations.
In addition, next week President Trump is expected to release his FY2019 budget proposal. The President’s proposal is just that – a proposal – which sets the stage for the FY2019 budget process.
Stay tuned for more information and advocacy opportunities for FY2018 and FY2019 funding for programs for children and youth experiencing homelessness.