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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Education for Homeless Children and Youth: Program Overview and Legislation

Gail McCallion
Specialist in Social Policy

The Education for Homeless Children and Youth program (EHCY) provides formula grants to state educational agencies (SEAs) to help ensure that all homeless children and youth have equal access to the same free and appropriate public education, including public preschool education that is provided to other children and youth. It is the only federal education program exclusively focused on homeless children and youth. SEAs competitively subgrant funds to local educational agencies (LEAs). Not all LEAs receive EHCY grants. In school year (SY) 2010-2011, 3,651 LEAs, out of a total of 16,290, received awards. Although only 22% percent of LEAs received EHCY grants in SY2010-2011, they enrolled 71% of all homeless students in that year. Education and related services for homeless children and youth are also funded through required set-asides from Title I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. National data on the amount of funding set aside are not available.

The EHCY program was most recently reauthorized as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, P.L. 107-110). Reauthorization of EHCY may be considered by the 113
th Congress as part of the reauthorization of ESEA. EHCY received $65.2 million in funding for FY2012. EHCY is currently funded through March 27, 2013, by a government-wide Continuing Resolution (P.L. 112-175) at the FY2012 level plus 0.612%.

All LEAs are required to report data to the Department of Education on the number of homeless students enrolled in school each year, regardless of whether or not they receive an EHCY grant. In SY2008-2009, 956,914 homeless students were reported enrolled in school; in SY2009-2010, 939,903 homeless students were reported enrolled; and in SY2010-2011, the number of enrolled homeless students reported was 1,065,794. The total number of homeless students enrolled decreased by 2% between SY2008-2009 and SY2009-2010; it increased 13% between SY2009- 2010 and SY2010-2011. During the three-year period between SY2008-2009 and SY2010-2011, it increased by 11%. Four states accounted for 42% of the total number of students enrolled in both LEAs with EHCY subgrants and those without in SY2010-2011. Those states, and their percentages of total homeless student enrollment were, California (21%), New York (9%), Texas (8%), and Florida (5%).

Legislation to reauthorize EHCY as part of the reauthorization of ESEA was reported by both House and Senate committees in the 112
th Congress, and may be considered in the 113th Congress. Some of the issues that are under consideration include EHCY program funding; costs of transporting homeless students to their school of origin; implementation of the ESEA Title I-A set-aside for EHCY; whether to permit separate schools for homeless students; clarification of the “best interest” school selection process; how to enhance the ability of LEA homeless liaisons and state coordinators to meet the needs of homeless students; how to improve the identification of, and services provided to, preschool students and unaccompanied youth; how to increase access to education and related services for homeless students; and the impact of potential changes to the definition of homeless in EHCY and other legislation.

Date of Report: December 10, 2012
Number of Pages: 30
Order Number: R42494
Price: $29.95

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