Today, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) introduced bipartisan legislation to make it easier for homeless children, youth and families to receive homeless assistance. Currently, the Housing and Urban Development Department's (HUD) definition of "homeless" is inconsistent with other federal agencies. The Homeless Children and Youth Act (H.R. 5186) would expand HUD's definition of "homeless" to include all children and youth who already are verified as homeless by several other federal educational and social services programs, ensuring that all homeless children can easily qualify for HUD housing and supportive services.
"The Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2014 is not only good policy, but also the right thing to do," said Rep. Miller, senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee and lead Democratic sponsor of the legislation. "Since the economic recession, the number of students identified as homeless by head start centers and schools has increased by more than 50 percent. It makes no sense why the federal government should stand in the way of allowing kids and their families to qualify for housing assistance. This bill would help stabilize the lives of thousands of our nation's most vulnerable students, leading to increased academic achievement in school and success in later life. I am proud to join Mr. Stivers in introducing this bipartisan bill, and urge fast action to do right by homeless students and their families."
"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," said Rep. Stivers, member of the House Financial Services Committee and lead sponsor of the bill. "My bill would streamline the definition of "homeless' to make it easier for our nation's children and youth to more easily secure assistance and access to support services to help kids stay in school and defy the burdens of homelessness."
The Homeless Children and Youth Act is supported by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, the National Parent Teacher Association, the National Network for Youth, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty and the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare.