We thank our Pennsylvania Congresspersons Dwight Evans (Philadelphia, left), Chrissy Houlahan (Chester, middle), and Mary Gay Scanlon (Delaware, right) for signing onto a letter pressuring the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to respond to data showing the decline of support for families and children experiencing homelessness.
Led by Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Morgan McGarvey (D-KY), our three Congress persons joined 22 of their colleagues in drawing attention to the decline in federal housing assistance programs for families with children.
The information they are sharing is shocking! The letter asserts that the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, one of the largest federal housing programs that can help prevent homelessness, shows that families with children have received a smaller share of voucher recipients over the last decade.
Read the press release here.
Action Steps: Don’t agonize, Organize! We joined SchoolHouse Connection in supporting a set of actions to address the declining support.
Read SCH’s analysis here.
The four action steps for Congress that we are supporting are:
1) Extend the deadline for the American Rescue Plan — Homeless Children and Youth, or ARP-HCY funds and continue this investment in the annual Education for Homeless Children and Youth program.
Why? Pennsylvania’s $32 million support of homeless education work will drop to $0 in the middle on next year’s school year, potentially dropping support for the state’s 40,000 children and youth, including Philadelphia’s 8,000, who are ‘McKinney-Vento’ eligible (i.e., experiencing homelessness).
2) Pass the Homeless Children and Youth Act, H.R. 5221.
Why? This act would unify the two definitions of homelessness; without a unification, tens of thousands of homeless youth and families will continue to be ineligible for HUD housing supports.
3) Pass the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, (S.3125/H.R. 6041).
Why? HopePHL’s ‘Youth Emergency Shelter’ and other youth service providers that assist boys and girls ages 12-17 with a safe alternative to the street and potentially abusive home environments are at risk of losing funding. This bill provides new funding and updated safeguards.
4) Pass the Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act.
Why? 250,000 additional housing vouchers would be provided, helping families in emergency shelter to move into permanent housing. The bill also provides emphasis on serving pregnant women and families with a child under age 6.
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