Congress Passes Disaster Relief Funding for Head Start

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Head Start Association welcomed congressional passage of legislation to provide $650 million to meet the recovery needs of Head Start programs impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. NHSA was also pleased the budget deal passed by Congress early this morning extended the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV).

“Head Start welcomes this much-needed funding to help programs in Puerto Rico, Florida, and the Gulf Coast continue to rebuild from the damage caused by the 2017 hurricanes,” NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci said. “We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to meet the needs of Head Start children, families, and programs now that the decks have been cleared and Congress will be able to deal with spending issues.”

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate caused widespread damage across the Gulf Coast, and devastated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, impacting nearly 100,000 Head Start children. In Puerto Rico, more than 95 percent of the island’s 1,089 centers have been damaged and will need some level of repair. In Florida, about 150 will need major damage repair to remedy structural, mold, and roof problems. In Texas, at least 20 centers will need major damage repair.

By comparison, about 100 Head Start and Early Head Start centers experienced physical damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012, ranging from minor cleanup to complete destruction of facilities. OHS received $95 million to assist Head Start and Early Head Start grantees with program response, recovery, and other activities related to the impact of Superstorm Sandy.

About NHSA

The National Head Start Association is committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than 1 million children, 270,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start grant recipients in the United States. ••• Media Contact: Emily Wagner, Director of Communications, media@nhsa.org

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