The current economic crisis and related family stress threaten to create new waves of family and youth homelessness. Even before COVID-19, youth and family homelessness were at record levels: public schools identified over 1.5 million children and youth experiencing homelessness.
The Emergency Family Stabilization Act fills the gap by providing flexible emergency funding to the agencies that are closest to children, youth, and families. Helping children, youth, and families through the systems to which they are most connected will stabilize them quicker and more effectively, and prevent long-term homelessness.
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The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) received a short-term reauthorization in 2018 and is in need of a full programmatic reauthorization that makes key updates to this program. RHYA funds three pillars of prevention and intervention for youth and young adults at risk of and experiencing homelessness:
- Street Outreach (SOP): education, treatment, counseling, and referrals to vital services
- Basic Center (BCP): temporary shelter, counseling, family reunification services, and aftercare services
- Transitional Living (TLP): longer-term housing with supportive services, including Maternity Group Homes for pregnant and parenting youth
The Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA) is a bipartisan and bicameral bill that restores local decision-making and improves the ability of communities to meet the unique developmental needs of youth and young adults (YYA) experiencing all forms of homelessness. HCYA will allow communities to serve some of the most vulnerable YYA by aligning federal definitions of homelessness.
NN4Y actively advocates for the passage of HCYA to allow communities to serve all youth experiencing homelessness by aligning HUD eligibility criteria with other federal programs, including the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act and McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Act programs.
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Too often, youth and young adults who have experienced homelessness must choose between stable housing or obtaining full-time education. Due to a limitation in the eligibility criteria for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, individuals who are experiencing or have experienced homelessness would otherwise qualify to live in low-income housing are not eligible for LIHTC rental units if they attend school full-time. This bill would ensure that youth and young adults and veterans who have experienced homelessness can access affordable housing while simultaneously pursuing education.
NN4Y urges Congress to pass the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act and include the vital fix to the student rule so students experiencing homelessness can go to school full time and access vital LIHTC funded housing.
The Higher Education and Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act (HEASHFY) is a bipartisan and bicameral bill that will remove barriers to college enrollment, affordability, and completion for homeless and foster care involved youth. HEASHFY will require colleges and universities to improve outreach, resources, and policies for homeless and foster youth. Including streamlining the FAFSA and eligibility process for financial aid, providing housing options between terms, and designating a single point of contact to help provide valuable services for these vulnerable students. It also requires the U.S. Department of Education to help resolve questions about a student’s independence, publishes usable data, and ensure its programs identify, recruit and prepare homeless and foster students for college.
NN4Y urges Congress to pass the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act.