Senator Collins Presses HUD Secretary on the Need to Reduce Youth Homelessness

Click HERE for a copy of Senator Collins’ opening statement

Click HERE to watch Senator Collins' opening statement

Note to Assignment Editors and News Directors: Click HERE for high quality video of Senator Collins’ opening statement

 

Click HERE to watch Senator Collins questioning Secretary Castro on youth homelessness

Note to Assignment Editors and News Directors: Click HERE for high quality video of Senator Collins questioning Secretary Castro on youth homelessness

 

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, questioned U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro on a range of important issues related to HUD’s fiscal year 2017 budget request, including the need to reduce youth homelessness.

During the hearing, Senator Collins stated, “the issue of reducing the homelessness among our youth is one that is a passion of mine, and last year, Senator Reed and I worked very closely together to provide some new funding despite the budget constraints. But, one area where there’s clearly a breakdown among the supporting agencies at all levels of government, is in the context of youth who are aging out of the foster care program. Youth that are exiting foster care are at a significantly higher risk of falling into homelessness, yet HUD’s budget materials are silent, not only on coordination with the child welfare system, but also on how to better leverage the significant funding resources.”

Senator Collins has been a longtime advocate for reducing youth homelessness. Last year, at the invitation of Senator Collins, Secretary Castro joined the Senator in touring the New Beginnings’ Ann Geiger Center in Lewiston to see firsthand how organizations in Maine are working to end youth homelessness.  New Beginnings has served runaway and homeless youth for more than three decades.

In January of last year, Senator Collins introduced the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), which would reauthorize programs that help youth obtain housing, education and job training.  In addition, in November 2015, Senator Collins introduced the Family Unification, Preservation, and Modernization Act of 2015 with Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), which would extend Housing Choice Vouchers for youth who have aged out of the foster care system from 18 months to 36 months. 

Senator Collins noted that she would continue to work with her colleagues “to ensure that this Subcommittee responds to the housing needs of these vulnerable children and teenagers.”