Congress Introduces Major Reforms to Assist Youth Experiencing Homelessness and Prevent Trafficking

News today from ATEST member organization National Network for Youth. ATEST endorses this legislation:

We are excited to announce that Representatives Yarmuth (D-KY) and Bacon (R-NE) and Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Collins (R-ME) introduced the bipartisan and bicameral Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA) of 2022. This legislation will fully reauthorize, update, and expand the vital Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) (42 U.S.C. 5701 et. seq.) program.

Every year, 4.2 million youth and young adults experience homelessness on their own. All of us need support on the journey to adulthood, but for youth experiencing homelessness, the climb to adulthood can be particularly steep. Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs plug youth experiencing homelessness into networks of support that power their growth and success as they traverse the journey to adulthood.

For over 45 years, the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act has been the foundation for American communities to develop responses to youth and young adult homelessness. The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act of 2022 makes critical updates to the existing program, which include:

  • Comprehensively addresses the needs of youth experiencing homelessness and youth survivors of human trafficking
  • Prevents human trafficking and chronic adult homelessness
  • Enshrines into law mandatory nondiscrimination practices
  • Authorizes waivers to program requirements in extraordinary circumstances, such as natural disasters, public health emergencies, or financial crisis
  • Requires grantees to assist youth in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  • Authorizes over $350M per year for RHYA services