Van Hollen, Manchin, Collins, Colleagues Introduce Resolution to Dedicate November as National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month
This week, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Susan Collins (R-ME), a long with a number of their colleagues, introduced a bipartisan resolution to recognize November 2020 as National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month.
The Senators’ resolution is also cosponsored by Senators Cantwell (D-WA), Murkowski (R-AK), Hirono (D-HI), Hassan (D-NH), Feinstein (D-CA), Coons (D-DE), Blumenthal (D-CT), Peters (D-MI), Reed (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR), Smith (D-MN), Merkley (D-OR), Klobuchar (D-MN), Sinema (D-AZ), Booker (D-NJ), and Brown (D-OH).
The following organizations have supported the resolution: SchoolHouse Connection, National Network 4 Youth, First Focus Campaign for Children, Covenant House, National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Education Association, National Head Start Association, National PTA, Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign, True Colors United and ZERO TO THREE.
The full text of the resolution is available here and below.
Recognizing November 2020 as ‘‘National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month’’.
Whereas, in the United States, public schools identified approximately 1,500,000 homeless children and youth during the 2017–2018 school year, which is the highest number ever recorded;
Whereas an estimated 1,400,000 children younger than 6 years of age in 2017–2018 and approximately 4,200,000 youth and young adults in 2017 experienced homelessness, with many such children, youth, and young adults staying on couches, in motels, in shelters, or outside;
Whereas infants experiencing homelessness are at a higher risk for certain illnesses and health conditions, and families experiencing homelessness are more likely to experience involvement in the child welfare system and difficulty with school attendance;
Whereas more than 1 in 3 high school students experiencing homelessness had attempted suicide, and nearly 1 in 4 high school students experiencing homelessness had experienced dating violence;
Whereas individuals without a high school degree or general educational development certificate (GED) are more than 3 times more likely to report homelessness than their peers, making lack of education the leading risk factor for homelessness;
Whereas, in 2017, the high school graduation rate for students experiencing homelessness was 67.5 percent, compared to 79.5 percent for low-income students and 85.3 percent for all students;
Whereas Black high school students are 2.67 times more likely to experience homelessness than White high school students, Hispanic high school students are 1.68 times more likely, and LGBTQIA+ high school students are 2.94 times more likely;
Whereas the rate of youth homelessness is the same in rural, suburban, and urban areas;
Whereas 29 percent of unaccompanied homeless youth between 13 and 25 years of age have spent time in foster care, compared to approximately 6 percent of all children;
Whereas homelessness among children and youth is a complex issue that often co-occurs with deep poverty, low education and employment levels, substance misuse and abuse, mental illness, lack of affordable housing, and family conflict;
Whereas COVID–19 in the United States, which was declared a national emergency under the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), has had a disproportionate effect on children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness; and
Whereas awareness of child and youth homelessness must be heightened to encourage greater support for effective programs to help children and youth overcome homelessness:
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) supports the efforts of businesses, governments, organizations, educators, and volunteers dedicated to meeting the needs of homeless children and youth;
(2) applauds the initiatives of businesses, governments, organizations, educators, and volunteers that—
(A) use time and resources to raise awareness of child and youth homelessness, the causes of such homelessness, and potential solutions; and
(B) work to prevent homelessness among children and youth;
(3) recognizes November 2020 as ‘‘National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month’’; and
(4) encourages those businesses, governments, organizations, educators, and volunteers to continue to intensify their efforts to address homelessness among children and youth during November 2020.
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