Federal Budget Increases Funding for Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs
Big news has come from Capitol Hill as Congress passed a bipartisan budget deal for fiscal year 2018, which was just signed by the President, increasing funding for key homelessness programs. In particular, $80 million was included in the bill to further expand the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project being led by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and ensured that the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) would continue for another two years.
In the same week, a bipartisan group of Congressional members announced legislation that seeks to reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYPTA) would help ensure that youth at risk of and experiencing homelessness will have access to important support services through programs funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“The True Colors Fund applauds Congress, in particular Senators Susan Collins and Jack Reed, Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart and David Price, and the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, on reaching a bipartisan agreement that increases crucial funding for youth experiencing homelessness,” said Cyndi Lauper, co-founder of the True Colors Fund. “This funding makes it possible for USICH to keep its doors open and will help ensure that 25 new communities across this great nation will have the tools necessary to strategically prevent and end youth homelessness.”
Here are 5 True Facts on what the FY18 federal budget means for youth experiencing homelessness:
1. Up to $80 million will be invested in long-term solutions to ending youth homelessness – a $37 million increase from FY17 enacted levels.
- The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project is designed to reduce the number of youth experiencing homelessness. With a focus on identifying, evaluating, and culling together best practices from different communities across the country, the demonstration will serve as a blueprint for communities, service providers, advocates, and policymakers alike.
- In total, up to 25 communities will receive funding, with eight of them being rural.
2. The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) will remain open.
- USICH received $3.6 million in funding and its sunset date of October 1, 2018 has been extended to October 1, 2020. USICH is the glue that holds America’s response to homelessness together, coordinating with 19 federal agencies to proactively work towards preventing and ending homelessness.
3. Funding for homeless assistance programs will increase to $2.513 billion – an overall $130 million increase from FY17.
- This increase in funding will provide resources for Continuums of Care, which support proven interventions and community solutions towards preventing and ending homelessness.
4. Emergency resources and solutions for youth experiencing homelessness will receive an increase as well.
- Runaway and Homeless Youth programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, Family & Youth Services Bureau will receive an $8.3 million increase for Runaway and Homeless Youth programs – with a provision that the increase is to be prioritized for those Transitional Living Program and Maternity Group Home grantees who have ‘off-cycle’ grants that end on April 30th, but can then be used for additional new grants.
- The Runaway and Homeless Youth Program is authorized by the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, and funds organizations throughout the country to provide vital services to youth who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. This week, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), joined by Representatives John Yarmuth (D-KY), Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Jeff Denham (R-CA) introduced legislation to reauthorize RHYA, which would also strengthen the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program by expanding the eligible age for transitional living programs to 24 and ensure ALL young people are protected when accessing these programs – including LGBTQ youth.
5. Funding for McKinney-Vento’s Education for Homeless Children & Youth (EHCY) will increase by $8 million.
- Local education agencies depend on EHCY funds to identify and provide transportation assistance for youth experiencing homelessness.
- Total EHCY funding for FY18 administered by the U.S. Department of Education is $85 million.
Bill Introduced to Reauthorize Emergency Services for Youth Experiencing Homelessness
“The True Colors Fund would also like to thank Senators Susan Collins, Patrick Leahy, and Heidi Heitkamp, as well as Representatives John Yarmuth, Dave Reichert, and Jeff Denham, for their reintroduction of the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA). This critical legislation would help ensure that ALL youth at risk of and experiencing homelessness will have access to important life-saving support services,” said Gregory Lewis, Executive Director and CEO of the True Colors Fund.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth have a 120% increased risk of experiencing homelessness compared to their non-LGBTQ peers. By introducing the RHYTPA, our leaders on the hill are helping to ensure that key services are available to our nation’s most vulnerable youth. We urge Congress to swiftly pass this important bill.
Here’s what you can do:
- Contact your Senate and Congressional representatives and urge them to support the swift passage of the Runaway and Homeless Youth & Trafficking Prevention Act:
To locate your Senate and Congressional Representative, CLICK HERE.