Earlier this week, Senators Leahy and Collins introduced the bipartisan Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (read more about the bill and track its progress here: http://1.usa.gov/1JTW89Q). Although there is no bipartisan bill yet in the House, National Network for Youth and partners are working hard to make sure that happens.
This legislation serves homeless youth through the following programs:
- Basic Center Program provides grants to community and nonprofit organizations to support emergency shelters and services to reunite youth with their families;
- Street Outreach Programs provides outreach services to at-risk youth;
- Transitional Living Program provides housing and life skill support to older youth 16-22 years old.
These programs serve thousands of youth each year and are critically important in every state. In Federal Fiscal Year 2014, the Basic Center Program served 30,536 children in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. The Transitional Living Program served 2, 788 youth and the Street Outreach Program made contact with over 460,000 youth during the same time period. These young people often have nowhere else to turn when a crisis occurs.
The recently introduced legislation authorized funds to complete the National Study on the prevalence, Needs and Incidence of Homeless Youth in America – a study which will provide a better understanding of the size and needs of America’s homeless youth populations. The bill increases the length of stay for Basic Center Programs from 21 days to 30 days, allowing for addition access to reunification services. The legislation also includes a nondiscrimination clause that has already been adopted by programs across the country, ensuring housing and services will be provided fairly to youth.
This is a necessary step in providing services for homeless youth across the country.
National Network for Youth is circulating a sign-on letter to support this legislation. Read more about it and sign-on here: http://bit.ly/1yegkvy.