Pass H​.​R​.​2001- The Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2019

Pass H​.​R​.​2001- The Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2019

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Hannah Gauntner started this petition to Rep. Glenn Thompson

Re: H.R. 2001- The Homeless Children Youth Act of 2019

            Sponsored by Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH-15)

 

Dear Rep. Glenn Thompson:

My name is Hannah Gauntner and I am a senior Social Work major at Carlow University. I am writing you to you so I can bring a bill to your attention that I feel should have a Pennsylvania Representative supporting. This bill is titled H.R. 2001- The Homeless Children & Youth Act of 2019. This was represented on April 1, 2019 by Rep. Steve Stivers. The goal of this bill is to amend the definition of a homeless individual that was set by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Per this act, children that are within a family setting while experiencing homelessness due not benefit from the same services that would be offered to a homeless individual that is in a shelter setting or living on the streets. If a child is “couch surfing” between friends’ and family members’ homes, or their family is indefinitely staying in a motel room, they are not considered to be homeless. This is unfortunate because the Department of Housing and Urban Development use the definition that is provided through the McKinney-Vento Act. H.R. 2001 will not only amend the definition, but align definitions with other departments like House Committee of Education and Labor. By aligning the definitions, H.R. 2001 will be able to eliminate barriers that prevent children from receiving various forms of assistance, improve interagency coordination, and improve the ability of local communities to assess and serve the more vulnerable children and youth.

H.R. 2001 will be a major help to families and children that may be experiencing homelessness throughout the nation, as well as communities that offer services to the homeless population. I am currently preparing to go on a service trip to California through my university, where I will be working with the homeless for the second year in a row. Through this experience, I have noticed that the homeless appear to be a forgotten part of the United States’ population. As much as we do not talk about the issues that face homelessness, the number of homeless people, especially children, continues to grow each year. Based off of school reports from an organization called School House Connections, the number of homeless children in a school setting rose by about 11% from 2017 to 2018. Number wise, this would be an increase from 1.4 million, rising to over 1.5 million school aged children. Not only is it concerning with how high these numbers are, it’s not even considering the possibilities that being homeless can cause children to fall behind in school and have poor performances. Many of these children, however, are not considered to be homeless due to where they are staying at night, whether that be at a friend’s, a family member’s, or in a hotel or motel. Though H.R. 2001 will not necessarily decrease this number, it can at least assist families and children to be able to access services that can help to provide their basic needs.

I am reaching out to you, Rep. Thompson, specifically because of your involvement in the House Committee of Education, but also the Subcommittee of Civil Rights and Human Services and the Subcommittee of Early Childhood, Education, and Secondary Education. These committees of comparable values to H.R. 2001, assuring that children have the support they need to strive. This act is currently still in the beginning of the introduction phase, but has no Pennsylvania representation at this time. I hope that you will take the time to look into this and help to support it, to improve the situations for homeless families throughout the country.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely,

Hannah Gauntner

Carlow University

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