Pages tagged "Housing & Homelessness"
400 national, state, and local organizations sent this letter thanking cosponsors for their leadership in making homeless children and youth a legislative priority. As organizations committed to securing a bright future for children and youth, we applaud efforts to amend the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition of homelessness to include children and youth who are verified as homeless by other federal program personnel, and to restore decision-making to local communities.Support for the Homeless Children and Youth Act.
Proud to stand w/ 400 orgs in support of Homeless Children and Youth Act to make homeless kids a federal priority v/ @Campaign4Kids #HCYA
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By Congressman Steve Stivers
Recently, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. This report provides a “point-in-time” count of homeless Americans, an estimate which is based upon the numbers collected on one particular night in January.
The count includes homeless individuals living in shelters, and those identified by volunteers who survey places such as streets, parks, rail stations and all-night businesses where those who are homeless frequently seek shelter.
In 2015, HUD identified 128,000 homeless children under the age of 18 ...
Washington – The end-of-year spending bill and tax package released by Congress today calls for permanently extending the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), effectively helping millions of America’s children and families from falling deeper into poverty.
Studies have showed that combined, the EITC and CTC expand children’s opportunities to be healthier, perform better in school, and have higher earnings in adulthood. The credits are a critical support to help families offset the cost of raising children.
“We applaud Congress for coming together in the best interest of children and making the EITC and CTC permanent,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus Campaign for Children. “Working families need and deserve opportunities to succeed, and today Congress and the White House came together to agree to extend these important federal family tax provisions.”
While the family tax credits benefit the majority of working families, proposed eligibility changes in the new package are concerning, specifically because they prevent some individuals who are issued new Social Security numbers from being able to make retroactive EITC claims. Also troubling is a provision that would make it more difficult for immigrant parents to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to pay their taxes, an additional barrier that singles out working immigrant families.
“Children of immigrants comprise more than 30 percent of all children in low-income families in America, and it’s critical that Congress makes decisions based on the best interest of all of America’s children,” Lesley said.
Studying the Cost of Child Poverty
Included in the omnibus spending bill is a provision that requests the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to provide an evidence-based, non-partisan holistic analysis of the cost of child poverty, and make recommendations to Congress to reduce the number of children living in poverty by half in 10 years.
First Focus Campaign for Children has worked diligently with lawmakers in both chambers in support of the NAS study. The study is also a critical component of the Child Poverty Reduction Act, which would establish a national goal of eradicating child poverty in 20 years.
“We’re pleased to see that policymakers on both sides of the aisle are supportive of this practical, first step toward ending child poverty for our children and families,” Lesley said. “We’re especially thankful of the leadership of Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard and Barbara Lee, who championed this effort.”
Strengthening the Pillars of Education
Today’s spending package increases discretionary spending in education by $1.171 billion, including a $500 million increase in Title I allocations and a $4.958 million increase for programs targeting the education of homeless children and youth. The increase in spending still falls under the provisions of No Child Left Behind, as new education provisions under the new Every Student Succeeds Act are not scheduled to take effect until the 2017-18 school year.
“There are more than 1.3 million homeless children and youth in America’s schools today,” Lesley said. “Homeless children and youth face unique barriers to academic success, and we’re grateful that this funding will help the kids who need it most. For many children without homes, school is their life.”
Additional spending provisions that strengthen children’s education include an important funding increase for Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grants – by $570 million and $326 million, respectively – and reauthorized funding for Preschool Development Grants. These bipartisan investments are an important commitment to early childhood programs that support and nurture the youngest children during their most important stages of development.
“These programs yield short- and long-term benefits to children’s health, educational achievement, and future success, all to the benefit of our national prosperity,” Lesley said.
Protecting Family Health Plans
The tax extenders package places a two-year hold on the “Cadillac Tax,” a provision of the Affordable Care Act that was intended to rein in high-priced employee-offered policies but instead, disproportionately harms kids’ coverage. The tax incents employers to begin increasing health care costs to families who are already struggling.
The two-year delay will allow working families to avoid higher costs and reduced benefits when it comes to employee-sponsored healthcare.
“Although this is a well-intended effort on the part of the Administration and lawmakers, the reality is that the Cadillac Tax disproportionately harms dependent coverage for children, and we’re pleased to see there is broad, bipartisan support to delay or repeal it,” Lesley said.
Keeping Tobacco out of the Hands of Children
Lawmakers protected the health of children and teenagers by rejecting a proposed policy rider that would have shielded electronic cigarette manufacturers from the standard FDA approval process.
A new generation of smokers is becoming addicted to nicotine. The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention reported that e-cigarette use among middle- and high-school students tripled in one year, and a recent Harvard study has linked the flavoring contained in e-cigarette vapor to a condition called “Popcorn Lung.”
Moreover, e-cigarette retailers have aggressively marketed their products to children, by naming and branding e-cigarettes as popular children’s candy and cereal brands.
“We’re optimistic that Congress will do even more to protect children from these dangerous and deceitful marketing practices,” Lesley said. “For example, the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act would require child safety packaging for all liquid nicotine containers.”
Better Nutrition for Kids
Child nutrition standards prevailed in the omnibus package by excluding riders that would have undermined them, as previously proposed.
The spending bill also provides $6.35 billion for WIC to fully fund participation of low-income pregnant, breast feeding, and postpartum women as well as infants and children up to age five, and summer Electronic Benefit Demonstration grants will receive $23 million to provide families of low-income children access to food during the summer months when school is out.
“This compromise isn’t perfect, but it’s good for children, good for families, and offers a hopeful glimpse into a more cooperative environment in Congress where America’s children have a better seat at the negotiating table,” Lesley said.
Download the First Focus Omnibus and Tax Agreement Fact Sheet.
The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.campaignforchildren.org.
The dynamic of homelessness has changed in this country. According to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, 30 years ago the face of homelessness comprised mostly of single adults. However, due to the recent economic downtown, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of homeless children and youth.
This fact sheet examines how many children are affected by homelessness, causes of child and youth homelessness, its effects, and policy recommendations.
By Noel King
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) releases data on homeless Americans each year, and those numbers are always open to debate. Bruce Lesley is the president of First Focus, which advocates for homeless families. He said HUD's definition is limited.
"They look at things like families who are staying in homeless shelters, families who are on the streets, parks, light-rail stations, tunnels, those kinds of things," Lesley said...
Federal officials say the number of Americans and Tennesseans who have experienced homelessness has dropped 11 percent since 2010, and they attribute the decline to President Barack Obama's Opening Doors initiative.
But critics nationally and in Chattanooga question the U.S. and Tennessee figures in the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development's latest Annual Homeless Assessment Report...
By Lisa Rein
New figures released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Thursday show that 564,708 people were homeless on a night in January of this year, a 2 percent drop from 2014.
HUD officials said the decline, of a total of 11 percent since 2007, is an encouraging sign that the Obama administration is succeeding in its five-year-old goal of preventing and ending homelessness and ending what the government calls chronic homelessness by 2017...
Washington – Advocates for homeless children and youth say the annual count of homeless children and youth released today by the Department of Housing and Urban Development is problematic and underestimates family and youth homelessness.
HUD’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part I reported 127,787 homeless children under age 18 in the United States in January, a 5.8 percent decrease from 2014.
HUD’s “point-in-time” (PIT) count is intended to give an estimate of how many homeless Americans there are on one particular night. It includes families staying in homeless shelters, as well as families identified by volunteers who survey streets, parks, light rail stations and tunnels, all-night businesses, and other places frequented by homeless people.
The PIT count is a flawed method for measuring homelessness, particularly among families and youth, for the following reasons:
- HUD’s count measures capacity, not need: Shelters are often full, and many communities do not have shelters, or have shelters that are inappropriate for the needs families or youth. Unaccompanied youth may avoid adult shelters because of safety concerns.
- HUD does not look in the places most homeless families and youth can be found: Homeless families and youth are less likely than single adults to stay on the streets and the other outdoor locations that volunteer search because they fear referrals to child protective services. Unaccompanied homeless youth face victimization on the streets; as a result, they more often seek alternative places to stay.
Because staying on the streets is rarely an option, families and youth are more likely to stay temporarily with other people, or in motels. But HUD does not consider these homeless children and youth to be homeless, and therefore makes no effort to count them.
In contrast, public schools do consider children and youth in these hidden locations to be homeless. The Department of Education’s data is a more accurate assessment of trends in family and youth homelessness.
The Department of Education identified 1,301,239 homeless children and youth in the 2013-2014 school year, a 6.7 percent increase from the 2012-2013 school year.
Not only are most homeless children and youth not included in HUD’s PIT count, they also are not eligible for HUD homeless assistance. But Congress is considering a bipartisan bill, the Homeless Children and Youth Act (S. 256, H.R. 576), requiring HUD to adopt a more accurate definition of homelessness and make homeless children and youth eligible for the same assistance available to homeless adults.
“No child should ever be left without a home,” said Congressman Steve Stivers, (R-OH-15), who introduced the Homeless Children and Youth Act. “I am concerned that the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) statistics do not give a complete picture of the problem. Passage of the Homeless Children and Youth Act will streamline HUD’s definition of ‘homeless’ to ensure we can get all homeless children and youth the help they need.”
“Homeless children count, but the housing department does not count all homeless children in its annual survey, “said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children. “There’s a record number of homeless children in American, but HUD is looking the other way, so homeless families stay homeless. It’s time to make homeless children a priority, and we need to start by adopting an honest definition of homelessness that reflects reality.”
“The nation’s public schools have witnessed a persistent increase in the numbers of homeless children and youth over the past decade,” said Barbara Duffield, Director of Policy and Programs for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth. “Most of these children and youth are not outside in plain sight, nor are they in shelters; they are moving from place to place, in precarious situations that jeopardize their health and development. The urgency of child and youth homelessness requires an alignment of federal definitions of homelessness.”
“The Point in Time Count is simply a report of how many homeless people are contacted through an impressive, elaborate street outreach effort conducted once a year nationwide,” said Ruth White, executive director of National Center for Housing and Child Welfare. “The obvious discrepancy between PIT numbers and what any provider, public school employee, or American who regularly walks down a city street can see with their own eyes, calls into question the need for thePIT and indeed, the purpose of the PIT counts.”
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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.campaignforchildren.org.
NAEHCY is a national grassroots membership association dedicated to educational excellence for children and youth experiencing homelessness. Through state and federal policy and technical assistance to our members, students, and the public, NAEHCY changes systems so all children and youth can learn, succeed academically, and achieve their dreams.. For more information, see www.naehcy.org.
The National Center for Housing and Child Welfare (NCHCW) links housing resources and knowledge to child welfare agencies in order to improve family functioning, prevent family homelessness, and reduce the need for out-of-home placement. NCHCW also brings housing resources to child welfare agencies in order to ensure that older youth in foster care have a connection to permanent family as well as a solid plan for stable housing and services to help them be successful as adults.
By Evie Blad
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that there were 127,787 homeless children in the United States in 2015, a 5.8 percent drop from 2014. But other agencies and youth advocates dispute that figure.
In HUD's 2015 point-in-time homeless count, 23 percent of all homeless people were children under the age of 18, the agency reported Thursday. That includes 4,667 unaccompanied youths under 18. Overall, the nation saw a 2 percent drop in homelessness, according to HUD's estimates...