The American Rescue Plan (ARP) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided significant funding to states, systems, and community-based organizations to respond to the COVID pandemic crisis.

Your community can strategically use these funds to speed up progress to end youth homelessness. This is especially important considering the eviction moratorium expires on July 31st. The most recent Census Household Pulse Survey estimates that more than 210,000 young adults ages 18-24 are very or somewhat likely to lose their housing due to eviction. In addition, more than 810,000 18 to 24-year-olds have no confidence or little confidence that they can pay next month’s rent.

Our Top 5 Recommendations

1 | STRATEGICALLY USE VOUCHERS 

    • $21.5 billion for emergency rental assistance via the Treasury Department
    • $5 billion for emergency housing via the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Collaborate with your Public Housing Authority (PHA) and Continuum of Care (CoC) to ensure vouchers are targeted to:

  • Prevent homelessness of young adults and families
  • Enable young adults and families to exit homelessness. Include those in current homelessness programs and those on waitlists.

Those at risk of homelessness are eligible for vouchers under this fund—PHAs and CoCs to collaborate closely with systems most connected with young adults and families experiencing homelessness. For example, schools, Head Start agencies, and Child Care programs. These key partners provide services outside of the HUD CoC system and identify those most in need of a voucher.

2 | USE EDUCATION FUNDS TO BE INNOVATIVE + BUILD PARTNERSHIPS 

ARP provided billions of dollars to schools, including money to reconnect students experiencing homelessness with education. $800 million is to identify and provide wraparound services to children and youth experiencing homelessness. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released applications for the final $600 million disbursements.  

3 | TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FLEXIBLE CHILD WELFARE FUNDS 

Young adults under the age of 27 who spent time in foster care as teens (after age 14) are eligible for a specific pandemic relief program until September 30th. 

These funds administered at the state and local levels can be used for basic needs like rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, food, child care, clothing, and car payments. This one-stop page has information and guidance about this time-limited relief for foster youth.

4 | DECREASE HUNGER AMONG YOUTH WITH EXPANDED USDA RESOURCES

ARP has temporarily allowed youth-serving housing providers and drop-in centers to become a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). 

ARP authorized the USDA to reimburse CADFP institutions that provide congregate meals to young adults. In addition, it raised the age limit for reimbursable meals and snacks served to people under 25 in a congregate meal setting. These changes went into effect on March 11th, 2021, and are in place until the health emergency is lifted. To learn more, see USDA Policy Guidance: CACFP 08-2021, CACFP 12-2021.

5 | HELP YOUNG PARENT FAMILIES INCREASE THEIR INCOME BY ASSISTING THEM TO ACCESS THE CHILD TAX CREDIT + ECONOMIC STIMULUS PAYMENTS

ARP included an expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC). It will give most families $3,000 to $3,600 per child this year, even if your family has little to no income.  

From July through December 2021, families will get monthly payments to help with the costs of raising children. They can get up to:

  • $3,600 ($300 a month) per child for children ages 0 to 5
  • $3,000 ($250 a month) per child for children ages 6 to 17

Families will get the remaining balance when they file their 2021 taxes in Spring 2022. You can help families access these funds to significantly increase their income by using these resources.

Additional Resources

USICH Eviction Flyer: https://www.usich.gov/resources/uploads/asset_library/Eviction_Flyer.png 

Find emergency rental assistance in your area: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/coronavirus/assistance-for-state-local-and-tribal-governments/emergency-rental-assistance-program/program-index

Supporting Youth in Foster Care Through the Pandemic: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/youthpandemicsupport 

Letter to Child Welfare Leaders (May 2021) from Associate Commissioner, Children’s Bureau, Aysha E. Schomburg, Esq.: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/documents/cb/child-welfare-letter-chafee-funds.pdf 

New USDA Resources for Shelters Feeding Youth and Families Experiencing Homelessness: https://nn4youth.org/2021/07/08/new-usda-resources-for-shelters-feeding-youth-and-families-experiencing-homelessness 

More about the Child Tax Credit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/child-tax-credit

National Child Tax Credit call center for support: https://simplifyct.org/child-credits   

Easy IRS Nonfiler Tool: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/child-tax-credit-non-filer-sign-up-tool 

NYC EXAMPLE: Every CoC should designate a certain percentage of these new vouchers to youth–at LEAST in proportion to the number of youth documented in the HUD Point in Time count (yes, we know it is an underestimate). New York City advocates were able to get 600 of the 8,000 vouchers designated for 18 to 25-year-olds, with 300 for youth currently in a shelter and 300 for those not yet in a shelter. Find out how many vouchers your CoC was allocated.

DATE

July 29, 2021

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