Action Needed

  • Sign your organization on to a letter to U.S. Congress to show your support for federal funding for youth experiencing homelessness. Sign and on share this with your network: bit.ly/1HLm70C
  • Send a letter either via fax or email. Use this letter as a template. Please put it on your letterhead and personalize with your specific local program and community needs.
  • Share this Action Alert with your network: bit.ly/1nyxx4n


ACTION ALERT: Send a letter US Congress to tell them to house homeless youth: bit.ly/1nyxx4n #EndYouthHomelessness

ACTION ALERT: Homeless youth need housing! Tell US Congress homeless youth are a priority: bit.ly/1nyxx4n #EndYouthHomelessness

ACTION ALERT: Urge Congress to make homeless youth a priority in the FY 2017 budget! bit.ly/1nyxx4n #EndYouthHomelessness

Current Status

February 9, 2016

Today, President Obama released the federal budget that he would like Congress to enact for FY 2017. The President’s budget is not law, but is the beginning of the federal budget process, which is ultimately determined by Congress.  Below please find an initial summary of homeless youth and youth parent family requests in the President’s budget:

Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs

  • $125 million for RHYA programs

Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) programs

  • $85 million for EHCY programs

McKinney-Vento HUD Homelessness Assistance Programs

  • $2.362 billion for Continuum of Care (CoC) programs
  • $270 million for Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG)
  • $25 million for Youth Demonstration projects
  • $7 million for National Homeless Data Analysis Project

Homeless Assistance for Families

  • $11 billion in mandatory funding over ten years

FY 2017 Funding Requests

  • $165 million for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs
  • $85 million for the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program
  • $33 million for youth demonstration projects through the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Program

Why This Matters

RHYA & EHCY are the ONLY Federal Laws Targeted to Unaccompanied Youth. Congress first enacted the RHYA in 1974 and has regularly reauthorized it to ensure a basic level of support for unaccompanied youth regardless of their state of origin or residence. Few states have established funding streams targeted to unaccompanied youth.  Only 25% of RHYA applicants receive funding due to the limited resources available.  Only 22% of school districts receive EHCY subgrants.

RHYA Projects are Facing Overwhelming Unmet Need. The basic living needs of too many of our nation’s homeless youth are not being met. RHYA-funded Basic Center Programs have turned away 14,855 youth since FY 2010 due to a lack of a bed, and RHYA-funded Transitional Living Programs have turned away 28,488 youth since FY 2010 due to a lack of a bed.

RHYA Projects are Cost Effective Alternatives to Custodial Care and Arrest. The average cost per year of juvenile incarceration is $87,600 per year ($240 per day) whole community-based alternatives cost $15,000 to $30,000 per year ($41 to $82 per day).

RHYA Projects Use Federal Funds to Leverage Community Resources.  RHYA projects succeed due to partnerships created among families, schools, community-based organizations, faith communities, law enforcement agencies, businesses, and volunteers.

The capacity of communities to serve homeless youth is only limited by the resources available, not by the expertise of how to serve our homeless youth well. Only 25% of applicants to receive RHYA grant money receive a grant because the resources are so limited. Grant applications scoring 100, 99, 98, 97 . . . out of 100 are being denied funding because there is not enough resources for communities to serve homeless youth.

Previous Updates

January 20, 2016

It is the beginning of the FY 2017 federal budget process. The federal budget process begins when the President releases his budget priorities.  It is expected that the President’s budget will be released early next month.

Last year, the budget  caps were lifted for both FY 2016 and FY 2017 which means there is more  federal resources available for any federal funding stream.  Because these overall spending levels are already set for FY17, Congress is likely to start determining appropriation levels early this year. Also, the Presidential election shortens the Congressional calendar which means there are just less days that Congress is working.

The FY 2016 Budget Included Historic Provisions for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness

In FY 2016, Congress appropriated $70 million for EHCY and $119 million for RHYA – $5 million increases for each program. These funding levels represent the first new investments since 2009 and do not begin to match the increase in demand.

  • Currently, only 22 percent of school districts receive direct support through the EHCY program. A recent GAO Report found that school districts struggle to identify and serve homeless students due to lack of capacity. Per pupil funding has decreased from $91 per child in 2006, to $53 per child in 2013.
  • RHYA-funded Basic Center Programs have turned away over 14,855 youth since FY 2010 due to a lack of a bed, and RHYA-funded Transitional Living Programs have turned away over 28,488 youth since FY 2010 due to a lack of a bed.

Partner with this campaign to keep this good momentum going!