Counting homelessness, accurately

Nearly 1.5 million homeless students were identified by the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) in the most recent school year — with an increasing number living on their own. Most of these children and youth are invisible in their communities and are forced to stay in rundown motels or on other people’s couches or floors. These “hidden” homeless situations are often unsafe, putting children and youth at high risk of trafficking, violence, and neglect. And although the DoE counts these children as homeless, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) does not.

The proposed Homeless Children and Youth Act recognizes the lived reality for these families and would allow providers to flexibly use federal homeless assistance to assess and serve the most vulnerable children and youth. It would also allow them to tailor assistance to the unique needs of the homeless population in their own communities and provide the most appropriate and effective housing and service models for youth and families.

As a Family Promise affiliate, Inter-Faith advocates for the Homeless Children and Youth Act. We see families every day who can’t get the help they need and deserve. Due to definitional barriers, most of these families are ineligible for HUD Homeless Assistance, leaving them without options for helpHCYA would change that.