The pandemic has only exacerbated the homelessness crisis in our nation, and the systemic racism and bias that is pervasive in our society and public systems have been clearly seen. Together, we can end YYA homelessness if we center on racial equity and young people who have experienced homelessness.
This plan makes targeted and high-impact recommendations for the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, and U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Education (DOE), Department of Labor, Department of Justice, and Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Our priority recommendations include:
- Issue an Executive Order to address systemic barriers youth encounter across multiple federal programs, including
access to a valid government ID and other vital documents, and make it easier for young people to access health
care and public benefits.
- Federal programs should capture similar outcome data, collect data on racial and LGBTQ+ identities, improve data
sharing across systems, and analyze data to identify any disparities inequitable access and treatment.
- Significantly increase investment in preventing homelessness experience and expand housing and service options
explicitly targeted to youth and young adults.
- Pass key legislation to advance the solutions and resources needed to end YYA homelessness.
- Improve the administration of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) program at HHS.
- Create an office at HHS for children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness to administer a new program to prevent and respond to child, youth, and family homelessness.
- Invest in learning and innovation through targeted HHS demonstration grants that focus on: (1) community-wide prevention strategies; (2) building anti-racist institutions; and (3) creating trauma-informed systems.
- Provide and require training and technical assistance to RHYA grantees on serving LGBTQIA and BIPOC young people in culturally competent ways.
- HUD should launch an “on-demand” voucher program for youth experiencing any form of homelessness.
- Improve education supports for students experiencing homelessness in K-12 and higher education institutions.
- Improve pathways to college and access to youth employment and career program opportunities.
- Develop and implement a strategic plan focused exclusively on YYA experiencing homelessness.
The Biden-Harris Administration has an obligation and opportunity to ensure youth and young adults experiencing homelessness are at the forefront of its efforts to end all forms of homelessness in America. Only if we remove the conditions in our society that make young people vulnerable to homelessness, listen to those with lived experience, and center racial equity, can our nation be a leader on the world stage in solving youth and young adult homelessness.