March 05, 2020

Manchin To DeVos: We Need More Dedicated Funding To Combat Children And Youth Homelessness

Washington, D.C. – Today during an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) questioned U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on the Administration’s proposal to combine funding for 29 federal education programs into one block grant for states, eliminating dedicated funding for critical programs for FY 2021. Secretary DeVos has also proposed a $4.7 billion cut to education programs, eliminating essential support for our education programs like those supporting homeless children and youth. Among the 29 education programs combined was McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act funding which provides resources for schools to assist homeless children and youth in their classrooms.  

“We know rural states like West Virginia have been hit the hardest by the opioid epidemic and it has directly contributed to the rise in children and youth homelessness in our state and across the country. Across America there are 1.5 million homeless children and youth and over 10,500 homeless students in West Virginia that we have identified, but those numbers are likely much higher. Programs like McKinney-Vento help these students have stability in their lives. The Department of Education’s proposal to lump these 29 programs together would result in a $4.7 billion cut in funding. We have children who are sleeping in cars or couch surfing with family members, they aren’t really worried about finishing their homework or the next test they have to take. They’re worried about how they’re going to survive until tomorrow. As a former Governor, I understand the flexibility block grants can give, but I know that West Virginia will lose money if this proposal goes through,” Senator Manchin said in part.

Watch Senator Manchin question Secretary DeVos here