Reauthorization and funding needed for the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act
Challenge: The number of homeless youth has increased greatly over time, but funding for shelter, transitional housing and street outreach has not increased. There are only 15 emergency housing, outreach, and transitional housing programs funded by the Runaway and Homeless Youth program in Pennsylvania, yet more than 6,855 youth are homeless, and that number steadily continues to rise in every region (with the exception of region 5).
Recommendation: Reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. (prior Congressional proposals) [S262/HR1779], and fund at a higher level than $127.3 million
For over 40 years, the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act has provided funding for street outreach, temporary emergency housing, and transitional housing services for runaway, homeless, and trafficked youth. These proposals make critical updates to the RHYA, including:
1.Educate/inform Congressional delegation
2.Email House members: When notified by national advocates, send an email to your U.S. House Representatives to urge them to cosponsor the former H.R. 1779, the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA).
3.Email Senate members: When notified by national advocates, send email to U.S. Senators Toomey and Casey to urge them to pass S. 262, the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA). It is critical that you add your local community perspective and expertise to the form email provided. Send your emails now: tinyurl.com/passRHYTPA
4.Add your organization’s name to a national sign-on letter in support.
Homeless Children and Youth Act [H.R. 576/S. 256]
Challenge: Youth homelessness is often experienced in forms that do not fit HUD’s current definition, such as couch surfing and staying with friends. Because of the limitations of the HUD definition of homelessness, large numbers of homeless youth do not have access to important services and housing and thus remain in unstable and dangerous situations. Similarly, families lose out on assistance or do not seek it for fear of losing their children to the child welfare system.
Recommendation: Pass the Homeless Children and Youth Act. The Homeless Children and Youth Act is bi-partisan legislation that would make it easier for homeless children, youth, and families to receive homeless assistance by amending the definition of homelessness to better reflect a youth’s experience of homelessness. Policy makers should also take into account that the number of homeless children and youth is steadily increasing and that this phenomena is not confined to just urban regions.
The Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA) amends HUD’s definition of homelessness to include children and youth who are verified as homeless through:
The HCYA would recognize and make visible the problem of youth homelessness and would equip jurisdictions with resources to respond to these youth such as transportation stability, ensuring equal access, and making sure youth graduate on time.