Child and youth homelessness continues to skyrocket in the U.S. In the 2014-2015 school year, the U.S. Department of Education identified 1.2 million homeless students, which is a 34 percent increase since the recession ended in the summer of 2009.
Homeless families with children and unaccompanied youth stay wherever they can and are often forced to move frequently between living situations. These situations often include motels, or with others temporarily, because there is no family or youth shelter in the community, shelters are full, or shelter policies exclude them.
These situations are crowded, unstable and often unsafe, resulting in negative emotional and health outcomes for children and youth and putting them at risk of physical and sexual abuse and trafficking.
Public schools, including early childhood programs, recognize all the forms of homelessness that children and youth experience, but the homeless assistance system administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development does not. Its eligibility criteria exclude some of the most vulnerable homeless children and youth from accessing the programs and services that they need.
The bipartisan Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2017 (S. 611 / H.R. 1511), reintroduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH-15th) and Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA-2nd) would allow communities to use homeless assistance funding to target the most vulnerable homeless children, youth and families in their community, regardless of the form of homelessness.
Please join First Focus Campaign for Children and our partners SchoolHouse Connection, National Network for Youth, the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare and Family Promise in urging your Member of Congress to support and cosponsor the Homeless Children and Youth Act so homeless children, youth and families in the U.S. can get the assistance they need to become stably housed.
Please note: Individuals can reach out to their member of Congress to ask them to support HCYA here.
- Fact Sheet: The Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2017
- Fact Sheet: Using Federal Funding to Effectively Meet Local Needs