Homeless Children and Youth Act takes a step closer to becoming law

On July 24, House Bill 1511 passed the Financial Services Committee. It is co-sponsored by Representatives Steve Stivers of Ohio and Dave Loebsack of Iowa. H.R. 1511 would broaden the definition of homelessness, making it easier for organizations like Huckleberry House to serve homeless youth.

“Last year, I was proud to announce the reintroduction of my bill that will more accurately count homeless youth in our communities – including many of those served by the Huckleberry House – an incredible organization who helps youth in Central Ohio who are facing homelessness, abuse, neglect, poverty, and many other issues,” Stivers said this week. “I am excited that this bill has taken one step closer to becoming law by passing the House Financial Services Committee. I will continue working to get this bill signed into law so we can better identify the scope of the youth homelessness, and ultimately dedicate more resources to addressing the issue.”

You may read the text of Rep. Stiver’s press release below.

Rep. Steve Stivers introduced the Homeless Children and Youth Act at Huckleberry House in March 2017.

Rep. Steve Stivers reintroduced the Homeless Children and Youth Act at Huckleberry House in March 2017.

WASHINGTON D.C., July 24, 2018 – Today, H.R. 1511, the Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA), a bipartisan bill sponsored by Representatives Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA), passed the Financial Services Committee. The HCYA would help bring the invisible homeless—such as vulnerable children “couch surfing” at the generosity of strangers or living in motels—out of the shadows and give communities more flexibility so they can address the growing problem of homelessness among children. This bill received a hearing in the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance earlier this month.

“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 is an important step in accurately identifying the scope of youth homelessness so we can help some of the most vulnerable in our communities. I want to thank the Chairman and committee members for supporting this legislation, and hope it is considered by the full House soon.”

“As someone raised in poverty by a single mother who struggled with mental illness, I know firsthand how community supports can help make a difference in people’s lives. We must take every step possible to help children in need excel. I am pleased this bill is moving forward and taking the next step to make it easier for homeless children to access homeless assistance programs. The Homeless Children and Youth Act will help communities best provide for those who are most in need,” said Loebsack.

Spanning multiple Administrations, the HUD definition of “homeless” has been inconsistent with other federal agencies.  The HCYA 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.

The Senate companion bill is sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA).  To read the full text of the bill, click here.