WASHINGTON D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — Representative Steve Stivers (R-OH) announced the reintroduction of the Homeless Children and Youth Act at the Huckleberry House in Columbus. This legislation, which is cosponsored by Representative Dave Loebsack (D-IA), provides a more accurate system for the federal government to understand the problem of youth homelessness and help better serve this population. The Senate companion bill is sponsored by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA).
Stivers joined Becky Westerfelt, the Executive Director of the Huckleberry House, for a tour of the facility. He then spent time talking to other community leaders in the fight against youth homelessness, including members of the Crisis Shelter Team, Transitional Living Program Team, and Board of the Huckleberry House, representatives from SchoolHouse Connection, The OSU Star House and the Youth Empowerment Program, and the Homeless Youth Liaisons from Southwestern City Schools.
“No child should ever be without a home, let alone be forced to navigate bureaucratic red tape just to prove that they are actually homeless,” Stivers said. “This bill will be a first step in identifying the scope of the youth homelessness issue so we can help some of the most vulnerable in our communities. I want to thank everyone who came to the Huckleberry House today in support of this legislation for their work to combat youth homelessness.”
Currently, the Housing and Urban Development Department’s (HUD) definition of “homeless” is inconsistent with other federal agencies. This legislation would expand HUD’s definition of “homeless” to include all children and youth who are already verified as homeless by several other federal educational and social services programs.
“As someone who was raised in poverty by a single mother who struggled with mental illness, I have seen firsthand how community supports can make a difference in people’s lives. I am also sadly aware that some children may slip through the cracks and we cannot allow that to happen,” said Loebsack. “In order for our children to excel, especially those who are homeless or have nowhere to go, we must make it easier on them to access homeless assistance programs. The Homeless Children and Youth Act will help communities best provide for those who are most in need.”
To read the full text of the bill, click here.