Washington, D.C. – The Senate passed a bipartisan resolution that brings attention to children and youth experiencing homelessness across the country. U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) led 12 of their colleagues in authoring the resolution recognizing November as National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month. In the United States, more than 1.4 million students experienced homelessness during the 2018-2019 school year. In Maine, approximately 2,500 students experience homelessness each year.
“Growing up is challenging enough without young people having to worry about where they will sleep each night. Without the proper support, these children are at risk of dropping out of school and are in greater danger of exploitation. We must make sure our nation’s homeless youth have the same opportunity to succeed as their peers,” said Senator Collins, Ranking Member of the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee. “I’m pleased that the Senate has passed this bipartisan resolution to raise awareness for this critical issue and recognize the hard work being done by businesses, organizations, schools, and volunteers to prevent youth homelessness.”
“Youth and child homelessness is a national crisis requiring a new approach that centers the needs of our youngest citizens. NN4Y applauds that Senators from both sides of the aisle have come together in support of this Senate Resolution. Through a cross-system approach, we can end child and youth homelessness in America,” said Darla Bardine, Executive Director, National Network for Youth.
“Children and youth living without a home suffer trauma, inequity, and instability, yet remain largely out of sight. America’s promise of ‘opportunity for all’ requires seeing and prioritizing children and youth who experience homelessness – a large, yet often hidden population. I am pleased at this federal recognition of their plight, and hope it is the first of many steps in supporting their needs, resilience, and success. I look forward to continuing to work with youth, families, advocates, businesses, community members, and policymakers to ensure that every child and youth has the opportunity to thrive,” said Barbara Duffield, Executive Director, SchoolHouse Connection.
The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded children and youth homelessness with high unemployment, unstable living conditions, and job insecurity – resulting in higher rates of children, youth and families experiencing homelessness. The COVID-19 pandemic also kept many students at home during the 2020 school year, and schools struggled to track those students experiencing homelessness.
The resolution was supported by SchoolHouse Connection, National Network for Youth, First Focus for Children, National Association of School Phycologists, AFT, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Family Promise, National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Low Income Housing Coalition and Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign.
In addition to Senators Collins and Manchin, the resolution was supported by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Gary Peters (D-MI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jack Reed (D-RI).
Click HERE to read the text of the resolution.