Head Start Welcomes $750 Million in CARES Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – NHSA welcomed Senate passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748) to help Americans weather the immediate and economic impacts of COVID-19. NHSA advocated for significant funding to help Head Start programs meet additional staffing needs, including those related to expanding operations later this year when the demand for services is expected to increase.

“Head Start continues to be a beacon of hope in communities during this current public health crisis,” NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci said. “From calling families just to check in to providing educational resources to help learning continue at home to delivering food to children who might otherwise go hungry, Head Start is finding new ways to continue supporting America’s most vulnerable children and families through this time of historic uncertainty. The Head Start community is also grateful for the funding given to our partners in child and family services to help them address the evolving needs stemming from this public health and community crisis, especially child care providers who are our most consistent partners.”

The CARES Act includes $750 million for Head Start to meet emergency staffing needs, address added operational costs, and provide summer learning opportunities. It also includes $3.5 billion in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program (CCDBG) to support child care programs in maintaining critical operations.

In addition, the bill includes funding for a variety of supportive services that Head Start children and families rely on to meet daily needs:

Nutrition Assistance

  • $15.5 billion in additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • $8.8 billion in additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs
  • $100 million to guarantee participants of SNAP on Indian Reservations receive much-needed food

Housing Support

  • $4 billion to address the impact of COVID-19 among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and eviction prevention assistance. Eviction prevention activities including rapid rehousing, housing counseling, and rental deposit assistance will mitigate the adverse impacts of the pandemic on working families
  • $3 billion for housing providers to help more than 9.6 million individuals currently assisted by HUD to safely remain in their homes or access temporary housing assistance in response to economic and housing disruptions caused by COVID-19, helping low-income and working class Americans avoid evictions and minimize any impacts caused by loss of employment, and child care, or other unforeseen circumstances related to COVID-19

Health and Safety

  • $1 billion for Community Services Block Grants to help communities address the consequences of increasing unemployment and economic disruption
  • $900 million to help lower income households heat and cool their homes
  • $425 million to increase access to mental health services in communities through Community Behavioral Health Clinics, suicide prevention programs, and emergency response spending that can target support where it is most needed, such as outreach to those experiencing homelessness
  • $45 million for family violence prevention and response services, including offering shelter and supportive services


  • $14.25 billion for institutions of higher education to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, which may include grants to students for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care, supporting the nearly 25,000 Head Start parents who are completing an associates or bachelor’s degree
  • $3 billion for governors in each state to allocate emergency support grants to local educational agencies that the state educational agency deems have been most significantly impacted by coronavirus
  • $100 million to help ensure rural Americans have access to broadband

Economic Support

  • Direct payments up to $1,200 per individual, and an additional $500 per child, which would benefit most Head Start families
  • Significant expansion of unemployment benefits, extending jobless insurance by 13 weeks, including a four-month enhancement of benefits, and broadening eligibility to include freelancers, furloughed employees and gig workers, such as Uber drivers
  • $562 million for the Small Business Administration to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to businesses to keep their doors open and pay their employees—building on the significant assistance provided in the Keeping American Workers Employed and Paid Act, passed earlier this month, which authorizes $350 billion worth of 100 percent guaranteed SBA loans, a portion of which SBA will forgive—to help businesses avoid laying off employees during this difficult time

Community Services

  • $5 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program to enable nearly 1,240 states, counties, and cities to rapidly respond to COVID-19 and the economic and housing impacts caused by it, including the expansion of community health facilities, child care centers, food banks, and senior services

“The Head Start community knows that recovering from this global pandemic and economic disaster will be a marathon, not a sprint. NHSA will continue advocating for the support and flexibility our Head Start programs, families, and communities need to overcome this challenge. We are all in this together.”

About NHSA

The National Head Start Association is a not-for-profit organization 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 nearly 1 million children, 270,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start and Early Head Start grantees in the United States. ••• Media Contact: media@nhsa.org

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