New Policy Brief on Education for Homeless Children and Youth program

Posted by on September 29, 2008

PEC publishes new brief on education of homeless kids

The People’s Emergency Center has published a new policy brief on the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth program that analyzes a recent national report and summarized what it says about Pennsylvania and five nearby states.

The report shows that Pennsylvania faces serious challenges in funding its initiative to serve homeless children and that it needs to improve its data collection as required by Congress.  This policy brief was created to support PEC’s advocacy for increasing the funding for this program.  The report can be viewed and downloaded from PEC’s website.

Congress is currently debating the appropriations level for Fiscal Year 2009 for the EHCY program.  It has the opportunity to help more than 600,000 homeless students throughout the United States and the school districts who serve them by approving funding over and above the President’s proposed funding level.

Advocates believe that Congress should increase EHCY’s appropriations for two reasons. One, it has not funded the program to keep up with inflation. While Congress increased federal funding for EHCY for FY 2008, approving $64.1 million (up from $62 million in the previous year), this additional funding did not keep up with inflation, resulting in an FY 2008 funding-level that is 5.7% below the 2004 funding level in real terms.

Secondly, only half of all school districts receive financial support to ensure that they comply with federal mandates to serve homeless students. As a result, some homeless students go unserved and districts struggle to comply with the law.

In the summer of 2008, Congress increased the “authorized funding level” from $70 million to $100 million. Now that Congress raised the ceiling for the total amount it could spend, it can now consider the actual amount for the FY 2009 appropriation. Although Congress is expected to approve of a “Continuing Resolution” to keep the federal government going, many national advocates say that Congress will not approve the 2009 budget until after the November election, and maybe as late as March 2009.

For more information on PEC’s advocacy efforts, email Joe Willard ( or call him at 215-386-7522.

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