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Stivers’ bill to align federal homeless definition across agencies passes committee

The Ripon Advance

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Washington, August 6, 2018 | comments
The U.S. House Financial Services Committee has approved a bipartisan bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) that would increase federal assistance for the nation’s homeless children and youth by making the definition of homeless consistent across U.S. government agencies.
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The U.S. House Financial Services Committee has approved a bipartisan bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) that would increase federal assistance for the nation’s homeless children and youth by making the definition of homeless consistent across U.S. government agencies.

“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,” Rep. Stivers said. “This bill is an important step in accurately identifying the scope of youth homelessness so we can help some of the most vulnerable in our communities.”

The committee on July 24 passed the Homeless Children and Youth Act, H.R. 1511, which would amend definitions relating to homeless individuals and homeless children or youth as used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to increase access to federal homeless programs, according to the congressional record summary.

Rep. Stivers’ July 24 statement noted the HUD homeless definition has remained inconsistent with the definition used by other federal agencies and H.R. 1511 would expand HUD’s definition to include all children and youth who are already verified homeless by other federal educational and social services programs.

If enacted, H.R. 1511, which is cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA), subsequently could help uncover the nation’s invisible homeless, including children who are “couch surfing” from house to house or living in motels, according to the congressman’s statement. In turn, communities would have more flexibility to address the needs of the country’s rising numbers of homeless children and youth.

“As someone raised in poverty by a single mother who struggled with mental illness, I know firsthand how community supports can help make a difference in people’s lives,” Rep. Loebsack said. “We must take every step possible to help children in need excel. The Homeless Children and Youth Act will help communities best provide for those who are most in need.”

Companion legislation in the U.S. Senate, the same-named S. 611, sponsored by U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), is under consideration by the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.

Rep. Stivers thanked members of the Financial Services Committee for supporting H.R. 1511, which they approved, 39-18. The congressman also said he hopes the bill “is considered by the full House soon.”
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