FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, DC – On March 24 thru March 25, the National Network for Youth (NN4Y) will convene its first National Summit on Youth Homelessness in Washington, DC. This comes at a point in time when there is considerable national and federal interest in prioritizing youth-appropriate policies and increasing commonsense investment in homeless youth services. In response, the Network organized this two-day event to highlight the urgent and unique needs of homeless youth in America and to outline the federal response required to address these needs. Former runaway and homeless youth, services providers, advocates, federal workers and Congresspersons from across the United States will attend and participate in this Summit.
During these two days, the National Network and Summit participants will learn about the work that is currently being done to prevent and serve runaway and homeless youth and receive a White Paper the Network is releasing at this event: Youth Homelessness In America: The Current Status and The Way Forward. This White Paper outlines the key policy priorities needed to move forward in scaling up youth-appropriate services and interventions to prevent youth from victimization, human trafficking, chronic adult homelessness and other negative effects caused by youth homelessness.
The Summit’s agenda includes:
- U.S. Congressional Presentation featuring formerly homeless youth, community-based homeless youth providers, federal policy experts and members of U.S. Congress about commonsense policies that are needed to prevent and end youth homelessness in America.
- Pre-screening and discussion of the documentary “The Homestretch,” facilitated by the filmmakers.
- Federal Agency Roundtable Discussion facilitated by Fred G. Karnas of the Kresge Foundation and featuring key federal partners from five different federal agencies.
In support of the National Network’s Summit on Youth Homelessness:
“No young person in need should be denied services that the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act provides,” Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said. “This crucial, timely help means more than providing housing for homeless youths; it means support and guidance that struggling young people need to get back on their feet and to lay the groundwork for successful lives. As the economy slowly recovers, funding for runaway and homeless youth programs must be a priority. I am committed to protecting funding for these vital programs and working with both parties to improve and reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.”
“Young people are now the fastest-growing homeless population in America,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). “We need to help ensure these youth don’t fall through the cracks. That is why I’m so glad that the National Network for Youth is hosting this summit and seeking programs and policies that create real solutions.”
“On any given night in America, more than one million kids sleep on the streets,” said Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3). “Congress has a responsibility to help ensure homeless young people have a place to seek shelter and safety, while laying a foundation for new opportunities. That is why this summit is so important and why I am working to fully fund and reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.”
“Children and youth who are homeless suffer. The number of homeless youth and families in need of housing and services has been increasing as local, state and federal supports have decreased,” said Darla Bardine, Policy Director of the National Network for Youth. “This Summit is a call to action to U.S. Congress and the Administration to act with urgency in scaling up the youth-appropriate housing, care and support these children and youth need to succeed.”
“I look forward to using my experiences of being a homeless youth and working to end homelessness as I stand up and speak out. Many other young people do not have this opportunity to take action and work alongside people who have devoted their lives to finding solutions for young people like me. I look forward to sharing anything and everything that I am able to contribute to this amazing Summit,” Jessica McCormick, formerly homeless youth, student and advocate.
“I am grateful that so many people have responded to our urgent call to respond to America’s homeless youth. At the National Summit on Youth Homelessness we will gather with young people, providers, philanthropic partners, government leaders and our elected leaders to urge forward the goal that no young person should sleep on the street or compromise themselves for the lack of a place to call home. As a homeless youth provider for 40 years and active participant in the National Network for Youth during that same period, I believe this is a critical time and a critical gathering. My aspiration is that our Summit will lead to real progress in ending youth homelessness as we know it. We know how to do this…we just must make it a priority,” says Deborah Shore, Executive Director of Sasha Bruce Youthwork in Washington, DC and Chair of the Board of the National Network for Youth.
“Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth comprise up to 40 percent of our nation’s homeless youth population and are among our most vulnerable citizens,” said Gregory Lewis, Executive Director of the True Colors Fund. “They face unique challenges and deserve a national system that meets their needs. We applaud the National Network for Youth for highlighting this critical issue and look forward to participating at this summit.”
Registration for the National Summit on Youth Homelessness is closed. Media are invited to attend if they RSVP to the contact above.
To learn more about NN4Y’s National Summit on Youth Homelessness, including the full agenda and panelist bios, visit the event website at: //nn4youth.org/conferences.
CONTACT: Darla Bardine, (202) 783-7949