November 04, 2021
Manchin, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Resolution To Designate November As National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Susan Collins (R-ME) led 14 Senators in introducing a bipartisan resolution recognizing November 2021 as National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month to bring attention to the children and youth experiencing homelessness across the country. In the United States, more than 1.4 million students experiencing homelessness during the 2018-2019 school year. In West Virginia, more than 9,500 students were identified as experiencing homelessness during the 2020-2021 school year. In Maine, approximately 2,500 students experience homelessness per year.
“Every child deserves to have a roof over their head and a warm place to sleep at night. Unfortunately, that is not the case for more than 9,500 children in West Virginia and over a million children across the country. We must address this heartbreaking issue,” said Senator Manchin. “In February, I introduced the bipartisan Emergency Family Stabilization Act to create an emergency funding stream to address children, youth and families experiencing homelessness. In March, I successfully fought to include $800 million in the American Rescue Plan for school systems to identify and assist homeless students in their schools. I’m proud to join my bipartisan colleagues in designating November as National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month to bring awareness to this dire issue and work to address homelessness among children and youth.”
“Growing up is challenging enough without young people having to worry about where they will sleep each night. Without the proper support, these children are at risk of dropping out of school and are in greater danger of exploitation. We must make sure our nation’s homeless youth have the same opportunity to succeed as their peers,” said Senator Collins, Ranking Member of the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee. “Our bipartisan resolution raises awareness for this critical issue and recognizes the hard work being done by businesses, organizations, schools, and volunteers to prevent youth homelessness.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded children and youth homelessness with high unemployment, unstable living conditions, and job insecurity – resulting in higher rates of children, youth and families experiencing homelessness. The COVID-19 pandemic also kept many students at home during the 2020 school year, and schools struggled to track those students experiencing homelessness.
“Youth and child homelessness is a national crisis requiring a new approach that centers the needs of our youngest citizens. NN4Y applauds that Senators from both sides of the aisle have come together in support of this Senate Resolution. Through a cross-system approach, we can end child and youth homelessness in America,” said Darla Bardine, Executive Director, National Network for Youth.
“Children and youth living without a home suffer trauma, inequity, and instability, yet remain largely out of sight. America’s promise of ‘opportunity for all’ requires seeing and prioritizing children and youth who experience homelessness -- a large, yet often hidden population. I am pleased at this federal recognition of their plight, and hope it is the first of many steps in supporting their needs, resilience, and success. I look forward to continuing to work with youth, families, advocates, businesses, community members, and policymakers to ensure that every child and youth has the opportunity to thrive,” said Barbara Duffield, Executive Director, SchoolHouse Connection.
"The WV Coalition to End Homelessness is dedicated to providing opportunities for youth to work collaboratively with adult partners to address system barriers and improve the coordination among state agencies and local providers to prevent and end youth homelessness across West Virginia. The HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program is a great first step to ensure that housing interventions for young people address stable housing needs, promote permanent connections, increase access to education and employment, and enhance the overall well-being of youth and young adults throughout the state. We appreciate Senator Manchin's commitment to bringing awareness to child and youth homelessness, and hope his commitment will extend to the wrap-around support, resource coordination, and investments in affordable housing stock that will end child and youth homelessness in West Virginia," said Lauren Frederick, Policy Development Officer at the West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness.
“Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, a 125 year old child and family service agency rooted in our mission of serving vulnerable youth and supporting families all across West Virginia, strongly support the resolution raising awareness of homeless children and youth during the month of November, as introduced by Senator Manchin. We take this opportunity to “intensify our efforts to address homelessness among children and youth” as challenged in the resolution, especially in these difficult times of COVID-19’s difficult effect on vulnerable youth and families. Every day we serve and support countless West Virginians impacted by homelessness, and work to raise awareness of the needs,” said Steve Tuck, Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.
Over the past few years, Senator Manchin has been tirelessly working to address and support children and youth experiencing homelessness. In March 2020, Senator Manchin secured $13.5 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) for youth homelessness. In February 2021, Senator Manchin introduced the bipartisan Emergency Family Stabilization Act to create a new emergency funding stream to provide flexible funding for community-based organizations working to meet the unique and challenging needs of children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness. In March, Senator Manchin fought to include $800 million in the American Rescue Plan to support students experiencing homelessness. West Virginia has received nearly $5 million from the American Rescue Plan.
Senators Manchin and Collins were joined by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Gary Peters (D-MI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jack Reed (D-RI).
In West Virginia, the resolution is supported by Children’s Home Society of WV, WV Coalition to End Homelessness, WV Head Start, AFT-WV and Think Kids.
The resolution is supported by SchoolHouse Connection, National Network for Youth, First Focus for Children, National Association of School Phycologists, AFT, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Family Promise, National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Low Income Housing Coalition and Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign.
Bill text of the resolution can be found here.
A timeline of Senator Manchin’s efforts to address children and youth homelessness can be found here.
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