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Arntzen announces homeless children funding awards

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News from Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen

HELENA — Superintendent Elsie Arntzen is pleased to announce that 12 Montana school districts will receive $424,800 in reallocated funds from the American Rescue Plan Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) program through the U.S. Department of Education. Districts across Montana will receive funds to provide meaningful services to over 1,000 homeless students, helping them stay on track with their educational goals and aspirations. Districts may use ARP-HCY Funds to: 

Identify homeless children and youth; Provide comprehensive wraparound services in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; Provide needed assistance to enable homeless children and youth to attend and participate fully in school activities, such as: In-person instruction - 

Spring and summer learning - Enrichment programs

“These grants are an investment in Montana’s most precious resources, our children,” said Superintendent Elsie Arntzen. “My Montana Hope initiative focuses on providing a safe and supportive learning environment for all children. These school districts reflect Montana’s constitutional promise of promoting educational excellence for all our Montana students.”

Local School District Ronan No. 30 received $8,000 in funding.

According to the 2023 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, about 11% of Montana’s homeless population consists of unaccompanied youth. Unaccompanied youth are children under 18 years old in households with only children who are not part of a family with children or accompanied by their parent or guardian. During the 2022-2023 school year, there were 5,261 homeless students in Montana, or 3.5% of all K-12 students. Homelessness is defined as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and includes: children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals; children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings; children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and migratory children…who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).

There are still ARP-HCY funds available to schools with homeless student needs. Interested districts should contact Serena Wright, State Coordinator of Homeless Education, at Serena.

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