Opinion Pieces

Thanksgiving: Giving Thanks Means Helping Those Less Fortunate

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Washington, November 24, 2014 | comments
Thanksgiving is a special time for celebrating with our family and friends, giving thanks and creating cherished memories. Many people, however, are not as fortunate; and instead are living on the streets—cold, hungry and homeless.
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Thanksgiving is a special time for celebrating with our family and friends, giving thanks and creating cherished memories.  Many people, however, are not as fortunate; and instead are living on the streets—cold, hungry and homeless.  

This is why I introduced H.R. 5186, The Homeless Children and Youth Act, which makes it easier for homeless children, youth and families to receive vital homeless assistance.  My bill would streamline the definition of “homeless” to make it easier for our nation’s children and youth to more easily secure assistance and access to support services to help kids stay in school and defy the burdens of homelessness.  

Public schools identified more than 1.2 million homeless children and youth in the 2012-2013 school year. This represents an eight percent increase over the previous year, and an 85 percent increase in homeless students since the 2006-2007 school year. Most of these children and youth are invisible to the public; they have no choice but to stay in motels, or in unstable, often unsafe arrangements with others because they have no place else to go.   

Homeless students are at high risk of physical and sexual abuse, human trafficking, illness, developmental delays, and academic failure.  This is unacceptable.  My legislation is no cost, bi-partisan solution that would amend the department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) definition of homeless to include young people who are already verified as homeless by other federal programs, including: domestic violence, health, youth, education, and early childhood programs. It also prohibits HUD from overriding local communities, so that providers may address the urgent needs of homeless children to provide a better future for these young people.  

I believe that no child should ever be without a home, let alone be forced to navigate bureaucratic red tape just to prove that they are actually homeless.  As you and your family give thanks this Thanksgiving, it is important to remember and to help those who are less fortunate; not just on Thanksgiving, but each and every day of the year.  

If you have any questions about The Homeless Children and Youth Act, or need help with any issues you may have with the federal government, do not hesitate to contact my office in Washington D.C. at (202) 225-2015, in Hilliard at (614) 771-4968, in Lancaster at (740) 654-2654, or in Wilmington at (937) 283-7049.

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