April 23, 2014

DeLauro, Warren Push for Focus on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, Most Effective Solutions

WASHINGTON, DC-Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) today urged Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan to address the growing issue of unaccompanied homeless youth. Unaccompanied youth live on their own, without a parent or other adult guardian, and are under age 25. According to HUD's 2013 Point-in-Time Estimate of Homelessness, over 45,000 unaccompanied youth experience homelessness on a given night.

"As noted in the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness' 2012 amendment to Opening Doors, providing appropriate, relevant and readily accessible services is critical to addressing episodic or longer term homelessness among youth, and is an essential component of any housing intervention, including family reunification," DeLauro and Warren, joined by 28 other members of Congress wrote in a letter to Donovan. "Successfully addressing youth homelessness helps create self-sufficient young adults who can contribute positively to their communities. Significantly, it also reduces the numbers who become chronically homeless adults."

A January 2013 HUD report found that children and youth make up about one-third of all homeless people. In Connecticut there are an estimated 235 unaccompanied homeless child youth on a given night. In Massachusetts that number is 518.

However, reliable estimates are hard to come by, which prompted DeLauro and Warren to urge Secretary Donovan to encourage grant applicants to include practices for identifying and documenting unaccompanied homeless youth in their grant applications. Because Notices of Funding Availability issued by HUD do not prioritize services for youth, applicants frequently omit youth-focused programs from their proposals.