On May 23, President Trump released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal. The President’s budget proposal is just that – a proposal that signals the Administration’s priorities for the nation. However, Congress ultimately will define the budget. Congress determines funding levels for individual federal programs, as well as overarching budget issues (such as caps on discretionary and non-discretionary funding).
Nonetheless, the President’s FY2018 budget proposal is cause for concern for educators, service providers, and others working with children and youth experiencing homelessness. Although most of the targeted homeless assistance programs, and many education programs, were spared elimination or draconian cuts in the proposed budget, the proposed funding levels do not keep pace with real need. For example, the number of children and youth identified as homeless and enrolled in public schools has increased by 34% since the end of the recession in 2009. Yet fewer than one in four school districts receive direct support through the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program. As a result, children and youth experiencing homelessness continue to face significant barriers to school enrollment and continuity – their best hope of escaping poverty and homelessness as adults.
Moreover, the President proposes to make major reductions in affordable housing programs, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (Food Stamps), among others. These programs help prevent homelessness for many families and youth. They also help people who are experiencing homelessness simply survive.
Take Two Actions
We ask readers to take two actions:
- Meet with, and/or send a letter to your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative in support of increased funding for the McKinney-Vento Act’s EHCY program and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) funding in the FY2018 budget. Communication between educators, service providers, and Congress helped obtain a 9% increase in EHCY funding in the final FY2017 bill; even greater efforts will be necessary for FY2018. We’ve created a sample letter in Microsoft Word. Download the letter, edit it, and send one version to your U.S. Representative, and one version to both of your U.S. Senators.
- Send a letter to your Members of Congress asking them to prioritize children in the federal budget, and oppose any efforts to cut funding for children’s programs. SchoolHouse Connection is a proud member of the Children’s Budget Coalition, and urges you to use the convenient online template to send a message to your elected officials.
Updated Budget Chart
We’ve updated our budget chart for specific education, early care, and homelessness programs below.