Count Homeless Kids Correctly

Kevin Ryan Makes the Case on CNBC

Kevin RyanOn February 13, 2015, CNBC featured a political commentary by Kevin Ryan, President of Covenant House International.

Ryan makes the case for why the Homeless Children and Youth Act is so critical. The federal government hopes to end youth homelessness by 2020 but it needs an accurate count to do so.

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Robert Portman (R-OH) have introduced S. 256, the Homeless Children and Youth Act.

In the House, Steve Stivers (R-OH15), Rodney Davis (R-IL13) and David Loebsack (D-IA2) introduced H.R. 576 the Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2015.

S. 256 and H.R. 576 would expand the HUD definition of “homelessness” to include unaccompanied children and youth who are defined as being homeless under other federal statutes such as the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act or the Higher Education Act.

“… Young lives are at stake: In October, the Federal Administration on Children, Youth and Families, released a study showing that 53 percent of homeless kids cannot find places to sleep because shelters are full.”

Writes Ryan.

The proposed legislation would make it easier to count #homelessyouth and children through the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandated point in time count of the homeless and also end homelessness for this population by:

  • Counting someone as homeless if another federal agency such as the U.S. Dept. of Education does,
  • Making it easier for homeless youth to prove that they are at risk of being homeless, and
  • Allowing local communities to set their own priority populations in their work to end homelessness.

“At Covenant House … we need a realistic picture of who needs our help. In several of the cities we serve, we at times have not had enough beds for the young people arriving at our doors, and we have had to create waiting lists. The needs young people bring with them are more acute than in years past, particularly in terms of unemployment and educational deficits.

By passing the Homeless Children and Youth Act, Congress can ensure that we all can work more effectively to end youth homelessness, and protect young people from the dangers — violence, traffickers, the cold, depression, suicide — they face without a permanent home.”

Writes Ryan.

Click here for the full commentary.