Congressional Briefing: The Homeless Children and Youth Act

10:00 am - 11:00 am

Event Type


Sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH-15), and Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA-2).

Over 1.2 million homeless children and youth were identified by public schools in 2012-2013. This represents an 8 percent increase over the previous year, and an 85 percent increase since 2006-2007.

Tragically, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) current definition of homelessness excludes most children and youth who are actually homeless: those staying in motels or temporarily with others because they have nowhere else to go. These children and youth face real harm, including negative emotional, educational, and health outcomes; they are at increased risk for physical and sexual abuse and trafficking. Yet they are denied access to essential homeless assistance programs. Other federal programs – including domestic violence, health, youth, education, and early childhood programs – recognize these children and youth as homeless.

The Homeless Children and Youth Act would allow homeless children and youth to be eligible for HUD homeless assistance, no matter where they happen to find a place to stay. It would allow local communities to make decisions based on local needs, so that homeless children and youth can lead safer, healthier lives, and avoid homelessness as adults.

Speakers will include:

  • Moderator: Bruce Lesley, President, First Focus
  • Cynthia Fernan, Student, Focus Learning Academy Southwest, Columbus, OH
  • Karen Gruneisen, Associate Director, Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco
  • Stephanie Van Housen, Homeless Student Liaison, Iowa City Community School District