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Homeless Children to Offer Subcommittee a Glimpse of Barriers to Housing Help


Washington, Dec 13 -

A Congressional subcommittee will hear testimony on Thursday from a panel of current and former homeless children as it examines government barriers that prevent many homeless youth from receiving housing assistance.

The Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity is examining how conflicting definitions of “homeless person” in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act make it more difficult for children and youth to obtain housing assistance.  Passed by Congress in 1987, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act established federal homeless assistance programs and provided the first statutory definition of homeless persons.

Subcommittee Chairman Judy Biggert said, “Children living in shabby motels or jumping from couch to couch deserve help, too. Every child should have a safe place to sleep at night and a chance at a brighter future.  That’s what this hearing is all about, and I hope my colleagues will listen closely to the stories these young witnesses, who have come from all over the country, will tell us.”

A study released Tuesday by the National Center on Family Homelessness says one in 45 children in the U.S. experience homelessness annually.

During the hearing the Subcommittee will also discuss H.R. 32, the Homeless Children and Youth Act, introduced by Chairman Biggert.  H.R. 32 harmonizes the conflicting definitions of “homeless person” in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.  As a result, H.R. 32 would not only increase the number of children and youth who could receive housing assistance and services, it would also allow the Department of Housing and Urban Development to more accurately estimate the number of homeless persons in the United States.

The hearing will take place on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 10 a.m. in room 2237 Rayburn House Office Building.

Witnesses scheduled to testify:

Panel I:

Panel II: