A bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter is circulating in the U.S. House of Representatives that calls for $800 million for the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program and $300 million for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) program in the FY 2024 budget. The letter is authored by Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE), and Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA).
The more U.S. Representatives who sign on to this bipartisan letter, the greater the show of support for enacting these critical funding levels in the FY 2024 budget.
The deadline for U.S. Representatives to sign on to this letter is Friday, March 17, 2023.
Please contact your U.S. Representative today and ask them to sign on to the bipartisan Davis-Bacon-Panetta letter in support of FY2024 funding for children and youth experiencing homelessness.
In light of the short deadline, we are urging phone calls, in addition to the online advocacy form.
Action #1: Call your U.S. Representative!
Call: You can be connected directly to your U.S. Representatives office by using the Congressional Switchboard at 202.224.3121, or find their contact information here.
Include this message: “Please sign-on to the Davis-Bacon-Panetta FY24 Letter for Homeless Children and Youth. Our community needs your help to ensure that children and youth experiencing homelessness get support to avoid homelessness as adults.”
Provide more information: Offer to provide a copy of the letter and more information on the numbers and needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness in your community or state; use these data profiles to get this data by Congressional district.
Forward this alert: Please also forward this alert to colleagues and community partners and ask them to act.
Action #2: Fill Out This Action Form!
Please also use this action form to urge your U.S. Representative to sign-on to the bipartisan Davis-Bacon-Panetta Dear Colleague Letter. If you have time to only take one action, please make a phone call, in light of the volume of emails that offices receive and the short deadline.
Action #3: Share on Social Media
Please use this social media toolkit to get your network to urge their U.S. Representative to sign on to the bipartisan Davis-Bacon-Panetta letter in support of FY2024 funding for children and youth experiencing homelessness.
Talking Points about EHCY
- The McKinney-Vento Act’s EHCY program is the only federal education program that removes barriers to school identification, enrollment, attendance, and success caused by homelessness. No other federal program has the responsibility for and expertise in finding, engaging, and serving these students. Local liaisons help identify homeless children and youth, ensure school access and stability, provide direct services, and coordinate with community agencies to meet basic needs.
- At the current funding level, only one in five school districts receives direct support through EHCY. Without EHCY support, students experiencing homelessness struggle to enroll in and attend school, and face barriers to accessing other local, state, and federal educational programs.
- An $800 million appropriation is less than 2% of the federal K12 education budget, yet is proportional to the more than 2% of PreK12 students who experience homelessness. $800 million would maintain the level of funding provided by a bipartisan amendment to the American Rescue Plan Act. The ARP Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) funds have been instrumental in meeting the growing needs of students experiencing homelessness, more than doubling the number of school districts that receive dedicated support to identify and support homeless students with wrap-around services.
- Lack of a high school degree is the single greatest risk factor for homelessness as a young adult, so an investment in EHCY is also homelessness prevention.
- For local information to share with your U.S. Representatives, use our Child and Youth Homelessness Data Profiles to download data for your Congressional district. For more national information, see this EHCY fact sheet.
Talking Points about RHYA
- Experiences of homelessness too often prevent youth and young families from joining America’s workforce, transitioning safely and successfully to adulthood, and becoming a civically engaged community member. RHYA programs change that by preventing trafficking, identifying survivors, and providing lifesaving services to runaway, homeless, and disconnected youth
- The RHYA program is chronically underfunded, with most youth in crisis unable to access the housing and services they need. Also, only 25% of community based applicants currently receive funding indicating a great need and desire to serve our young people, but a lack of funding to meet this need.
- RHYA programs fund community-based organizations to provide housing and services to minors and young adults. Grants fund the excellent work of communities to provide local street outreach, shelter, transitional living programs, and maternity group homes.
- RHYA programs are vital for youth and young parents in crisis. They save lives and connect young people to education, employment, mental health care while building life skills and reconnecting families when safe and appropriate.
- RHYA helps young people in crisis survive and become empowered to thrive as they transition to adulthood.
- $300 million will support approximately 1,400 RHYA projects in communities across the US to help approximately 49,034 young people access housing and connect with 70,000 youth via street outreach and drop-in centers.
- For basic information about RHYA, see this fact sheet.