House Committee Votes in Favor of HCYA

 Non Members Edition

July 25, 2018
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Homeless Children and Youth Act Passes Out of House Committee!

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee voted the bipartisan H.R. 1511, Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA) out of committee and on to the full House for their consideration.

This important legislation has the support of hundreds of organizations who work on the front lines every day with children, youth and families experiencing homelessness. This includes over 60 national groups and hundreds of community-based service providers. And HCYA is supported by Representatives from both parties, including both Republicans and Democrats on the Financial Services Committee.

Last month, the Committee held a hearing on HCYA. During this hearing, homelessness providers from Wisconsin and Colorado, along with national advocates, discussed how HCYA will help their community prevent and respond to all forms of homelessness. Watch highlights from the hearing online.

How HCYA Helps Communities

This important bill will help communities prevent and respond to all forms of homelessness, in ways that best meet the needs of their community! 
1) Aligns HUD's definition of homelessness with the other several federal homelessness programs. 
  • Homelessness is fluid. We know that individuals, children and families experiencing homelessness who don't meet HUD's definition can be just as vulnerable as those who do. 
  • HCYA will allow communities to ASSESS any individual who meets a federal definition of homelessness for vulnerability, and provide them with the help that they need to prevent increased harm and continued homelessness. 
2) Ensures that HUD's scores CoC funding applications primarily on whether they are cost-effective in meeting the priorities and goals that communities identify in their local plans.
  • HUD's strong incentives and requirements for certain housing models, like Rapid Rehousing, and for certain populations, like chronically homeless adults, that do not match all communities' needs. Even when communities identify greater needs for other populations or program models, they must adopt HUD's national priorities in order to be competitive for funding.
  • Communities around the nation have had to defund successful programs, leaving gaps in the ability of communities to serve homeless children, youth and families. 
  • HCYA would ensure that scoring is based primarily on the extent to which communities demonstrate that a project a) meets the priorities identified in the local plan, and b) is cost-effective in meeting the goals identified in the local plan.
  • HUD would maintain the ability to designate high-performing communities and to incentivize effective practices. Effective activities are defined as those determined to be effective by HUD, after a public comment period. HCYA also maintains the ability of HUD to provide bonuses and incentives, but they must be proven to be effective and based on local data, as opposed to a one-size fits-all national priority. Finally, HCYA does not eliminate scoring, but rather requires HUD to ensure that scoring is based primarily on the extent to which communities demonstrate that a project meets the priorities in the local plan, and is cost-effective relative to the goals in the local plan. 
3) Improves HUD homeless assistance data and transparency.
  • HUD's Point in Time (PIT) count is an imprecise measure that leaves out many homeless children, youth and families, keeping them invisible and limiting public and private action.
  • HCYA requires that HUD's reports, and any community annual counts of homeless people must count individuals that meet any part of the definition of homelessness. Many communities already include many of these individuals in their initial count (especially youth and young adults), but then have these numbers 'corrected' to reflect only those who meet HUD's' strict definitions.
  • HCYA does not require an additional PIT count, nor any burdensome counting requirements. HUD would retain their existing discretion to develop a system that works effectively for counting individuals in a community experiencing homelessness. 
Learn more about how HCYA will help communities prevent and respond to homelessness.

Get the Facts About HCYA

Recently NN4Y joined other national organizations representing child youth and family homelessness providers to host a webinar on the facts about HCYA. View the webinar to find out what the bill does and does not do, why it is critically important to addressing youth and family homelessness, and what you can do to help advocate for its passage.

Show Your Support for HCYA

Hundreds of local, state and national organizations, including local CoCs have expressed their support for HCYA. Your support can help Congress move HCYA forward. Here are 3 simple actions you can take to support HCYA:

1) Tell your U.S. Representative and U.S Senators that all homeless children and youth need help,­ no matter where they happen to be staying.

2) Add your organization or office to the list of Homeless Children and Youth Act supporters. 
About National Network for Youth (NN4Y)
As the largest and most diverse network of its kind, the National Network for Youth (NN4Y) mobilizes over 300 members and affiliates –organizations that work on the front lines every day to provide prevention services and respond to runaways and youth experiencing homelessness and human trafficking. NN4Y has been a public education and policy advocacy organization dedicated to the prevention and eradication of youth homelessness in America for over 40 years.
Where to Find NN4Y

July 23 - 25: National Alliance to End Homelessness's National Conference on Ending Homelessness, in Washington, DC
October 3 - 4: True Colors Fund's Impact Summit, in Atlanta, GA
October 27 - 30: National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth's Conference, in Anaheim, CA
October 31 - November 1: National RHY Grantees Training, in Austin, TX

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