As always, talk about your program/work/experience and include specific local/state examples of why these policy asks need to be implemented. Find each “ask” with talking points below:

Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA)


  • Make it a priority of each committee:
    • Senate: Judiciary Committee
    • House: Education and Labor Committee
  • Senate and House Members of Congress: Cosponsor after introduction


  • 4.2 million young people experience homelessness on their own every year. Be sure to add local data.
  • RHYA programs are vital to scaling up youth-centric community response to serve our youth.
  • RHYTPA made some critical updates to the current Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) program listed below:
    • The act includes new provisions to combat trafficking and prohibit discrimination.
    • It increases the length of stays in Basic Centers from 21 to 30 days.
    • The act increases grant award amount and overall program funding.
    • The act increases the allowable age for Transitional Living Programs.
    • Lastly, the act clarifies that multiple programs with clear separation can be in the same building.

Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Requests: 


  • $300 Million for the HHS Runaway and Homeless Youth Act Program
    • Continue previous report language plus include additional report language to:
      • Allow RHYA providers to serve systems-involved youth.
        • PROPOSED REPORT LANGUAGE: The Committee strongly encourages programs to have the ability to serve youth involved in other systems (such as child welfare and juvenile justice) that are not currently housed by that system.
      • Allow RHYA providers to serve youth funded by other sources within the program.
        • PROPOSED REPORT LANGUAGE: The Committee strongly encourages programs to have the ability to serve youth funded by systems of care other than the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to be housed within the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act funded program.
  • $300 Million for the ED Education for Homeless Children and Youth Act Program


Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA)

  • The talking points should focus on COVID impacts and increase the number of youth in need in your community/program.
  • 4.2 million young people experience homelessness on their own every year. Be sure to add local data.
  • These programs are vital to scaling up youth-centric community response to serve these 4.2 million youth. 
  • Support approximately 1,400 RHYA projects in communities across the United States that meet our young people where they are. These youth are not eligible for HUD homeless assistance due to HUD’s narrow definition of homelessness and the hidden nature of homelessness among youth.
  • The act will allow approximately 49,034 young people to access housing and connect with 70,000 youth via street outreach and drop-in centers. However, this is far from meeting the need, but the act would significantly increase our country’s capacity to end youth homelessness by doubling the number of young people served. It would also provide a cost savings of more than $12 billion in fiscal costs and over $30 billion in costs to society.
  • The act ensures that our young people are not left out of national efforts to end homelessness. Successfully addressing youth homelessness will save money and dramatically reduce future chronic adult homelessness.
  • It is important to note that youth experiencing homelessness are trafficked at high rates. According to a 2016 report from the Family & Youth Services Bureau, 24% of youth living on the streets exchanged sex for money, and 27.5% did so for a place to stay. Covenant House International found that nearly one-in-five youth had been a victim of sex and labor trafficking or both.
  • These programs prevent chronic adult homelessness. Research from cities has shown that a high proportion of their chronically homeless adult population first experienced homelessness as a young person under 25. The City of Seattle found that 43% of their unsheltered homeless population first experienced homelessness as a minor (18%) or as a young adult between 18 and 24 (25%).

Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) 

  • The COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting impact on students experiencing homelessness. An estimated one in four homeless children and youth (420,000 homeless students) have gone unidentified and possibly unenrolled in public schools due to COVID-19. These students are disproportionately students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities, with compounding barriers and trauma. 
  • Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago found that the single greatest risk factor for experiencing homelessness as a young adult is lack of a high school diploma or GED. Education plays a crucial role in the early intervention and prevention of future homelessness.
  • The McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program is the only federal education program that removes barriers to school enrollment, attendance, and success caused by homelessness. Local liaisons help identify homeless children and youth, ensure their school access and stability, provide direct support service, and coordinate with community agencies to meet basic needs.
  • In the wake of COVID-19, school district EHCY programs face high costs in meeting the needs of homeless children and youth. These costs include staff time to identify students, provide outreach, and leverage community services. Other costs include educational and related services, as well as transportation. Schools are the hub for social service provision in many areas, especially when community partners face high demand and have had to scale back services.


  • $100 Million for HUD Youth Homeless Demonstration Program
    • Continue previous report language and include this additional report language:
      • Allocates 3% of YHDP budget to paying for Youth Advisory Board creation and maintenance.
      • Requires all categories of homeless youth to be served without a waiver.
  • $300 Million for HUD Emergency Solutions Grant Program


Youth Homeless Demonstration Program (YHDP)

  • HUD homelessness assistance programs were designed for adults and not young people. YHDP is working to change that.
  • YHDP is a successful program that has helped communities develop youth-centric approaches to ending homelessness. 
  • YHDP projects partner with community stakeholders and require communities to convene Youth Action Boards.
  •  We strongly urge HUD to require every CoC to implement lessons learned by YHDP communities and implement YHDP project outcomes to all CoC youth-funded projects.

Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program

  • This program provides vital funding to end homelessness that goes beyond just housing. Without funding for these essential services, people exiting homelessness will not receive the support they need to sustainably exit homelessness. ESG provides funding to:
    • Engage homeless individuals and families living on the street;
    • Improve the number and quality of emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families;
    • Help operate these shelters;
    • Provide essential services to shelter residents;
    • Rapidly re-house homeless individuals and families; and
    • Prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless.

Fix the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) “Student Rule” Issue to Youth Experiencing Homelessness Can Attend School Full Time 


  • Include a ​​no-cost amendment with a history of bipartisan support to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) in the final FY2022 omnibus appropriations package to expand access to housing for homeless youth and veterans. This provision was included in the Housing for Homeless Students Act, which was previously introduced by U.S. Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH).


  • A crucial part of ending youth homelessness is ensuring young people can access affordable housing.
  • This no-cost amendment would fix a current issue: 
    • Currently, the LIHTC “student rule” prohibits tenants from being full-time students while living in LIHTC subsidized housing. 
    • This prohibition was intended to prevent LIHTC funds from being used to build student housing on college campuses and to prevent college students who have temporarily low incomes from utilizing resources meant for families and individuals with longer-term housing needs. 
    • These individuals must choose between housing or pursuing education full-time.
    • If they switch to part-time education to retain access to affordable housing, they lose access to scholarships and grants, thus jeopardizing their education and future.
  • The solution:
    • This solution would put homeless youth and veterans on better footing to successfully attain post-secondary education and achieve self-sufficiency while addressing some of the housing and educational challenges exacerbated by the pandemic.

Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA)



  • HCYA would reform HUD homeless assistance by aligning federal definitions of homelessness.
    • HUD’s definition of homelessness excludes most children and youth whose families pay for a motel room or those who must stay with other people temporarily because there is nowhere else to go. These situations are unstable and often unsafe, putting children and youth at high risk of trafficking and violence. Under HUD’s definition, children and youth in such living situations are not even assessed for services.
  • HCYA simplifies and streamlines eligibility and promotes leveraging additional resources through improved interagency collaboration, allowing communities to assess and serve some of the most vulnerable children and youth and preventing future homelessness. 
  • This bipartisan legislation corrects long-standing flaws in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Homeless Assistance Grant (HAG) program, which most severely impacts children, youth, and families.
  • HCYA aligns HUD’s definition of homelessness with other federal programs targeted at serving children and youth experiencing homelessness.