Urge Booker and Menendez to Vote No to Expand Homeless Definition

Proposed Amendment Would
Harm Worst Off Homeless Youth

Homeless Youth Count and Should Be CountedPlease reach out to Senators Booker and Menendez’s staffers today and urge them to vote NO on Amendment #271 to bill S. 178, a human trafficking bill.

Tell them that although the amendment is well-meaning for the most part, the actual effect would be that the worst-off kids, those living on the streets, those fleeing domestic violence or other abuse would have a harder time getting help.

Couch-surfing youth and doubled up families are already eligible for the Continuum of Care (CoC) programs as long as they cannot stay in their doubled up situation for longer than 14 days making the definition change unnecessary.

The amendment does not solve the problem it aims to and in fact, makes it less likely the worst off households get the help that they need.

Click here for a directory of NJ Congressional housing staffers.

Their current plan is to take it up S. 178 the week of March 16, 2015 with amendments, starting with a cloture vote on Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

As background, on March 12, 2015, the U.S. Senate debated S. 178, a human trafficking bill, on the Senate floor. Senator Leahy added an amendment regarding Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) reauthorization to S. 178.

The RHYA reauthorization language was then included in a substitute amendment that was offered ensuring this language is included in the bill itself, rather than just as an amendment and removed other unrelated controversial language.

Advocates led by the National Alliance to End Homelessness support the bill itself and the RHYA re-authorization but, unfortunately, U.S. Senator Portman filed an amendment, #271, to the bill which would undermine HUD’s Continuum of Care (CoC) program by greatly expanding eligibility without providing or authorizing any additional funding.