The full letter is below.
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This request is supported by the National Network for Youth and SchoolHouse Connection
Deadline to sign-on: April 26th
FY 21 Signers: Yarmuth, Davis (Danny K.), Bacon, Carson, Brownley, Deutch, Rush, Scanlon, Foster, Holmes Norton, Schakowsky, Davis (Susan), Panetta, Stivers, Loebsack, Garamendi, Lynch, Moulton, Jayapal, Waters, Casten, Titus, Bass, Schneider, Horsford, Porter, Boyle, Himes, Lipinski, Matsui, Gomez, Walorski, Craig, Evans, Suozzi, Costa, Lamb, Lofgren, Green, DeFazio, Wild, Smith, Espaillat, Johnson, Hayes, McNerney, DelBene, DeSaulnier, Beatty, Cardenas, McAdams, Doyle, Raskin, Morelle, Davids, Davis (Rodney), Omar, Peters, Kind, Lieu, Axne, Young, Moore, Cohen, Takano, Soto, Courtney, Sewell, Lujan (Ben Ray), Blumenauer, Grijalva, Bonamici, Trone, and Spanberger
We ask you to join us in requesting that the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies provide strong funding for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) and the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program in order to meet the unprecedented need for safe and stable housing and supportive services for homeless youth, especially in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In every American community, youth run away from home, are kicked out of their house, leave the juvenile justice system with nowhere to go, become orphans, or exit the child welfare system with no support to enable successful transitions to adulthood. Unfortunately, no community is immune to family homelessness, and the upheaval that accompanies it. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, child and youth homelessness were at record levels. Public schools reported more than 1.5 million children and youth experiencing homelessness, with an additional 1.4 million children under age six experiencing homelessness. At least one in thirty adolescents ages 13-17, and nearly one in ten young adults ages 18-24, are estimated to experience homelessness on their own. These numbers are now likely much higher because of the economic downturn and family stress associated with the pandemic. Students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities are also disproportionately likely to experience homelessness, compounding educational barriers and trauma.
The RHYA and EHCY programs effectively address the needs of child and youth homelessness. Through the excellent work of local street outreach, shelter, and transitional living programs, RHYA has helped homeless youth in education, employment, personal savings, and family preservation. Local education agencies depend on EHCY grants to provide identification, enrollment, and transportation assistance, as well as academic support and referrals for basic services. The EHCY program provides school stability and support to mitigate the effects of homelessness and give homeless youth access to the services they need.
Research has demonstrated the widespread prevalence of unaccompanied youth and young adult homelessness, and with the continued growth in family homelessness it is time for Congress to strongly fund programs such as RHYA and EHCY. We urge you to support these funding levels for EHCY and RHYA programs in the FY2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill to meet the unprecedented need for safe and stable housing and supportive services for homeless youth.
John Yarmuth Danny K. Davis Don Bacon
Member of Congress Member of Congress Member of Congress