As we are gearing up for the 84th Texas Regular Legislative Session in January, it’s easy to forget that there are also important policy changes being made at the federal level.
Our partners at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) have asked us to get involved in advocacy on the following issues, which are coming in January:
(text below is from NAEHCY)
THE MCKINNEY-VENTO ACT’S EDUCATION FOR HOMELESS CHILDREN AND YOUTH PROGRAM
The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program, will see legislative action early next year, as the first major bill likely to be taken up by the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
If Members of Congress are not familiar with homelessness, the McKinney-Vento Act, and why the program should be maintained and strengthened, they are unlikely to support it, and may even oppose it.
Please consider meeting with your U.S. Senators and/or their staff, and your U.S. Representative, to educate them about the impact of homeless on education, the role of the McKinney-Vento Act, and why it should be strengthened. Bringing community partners to the meeting is a great way to show support. To find out who represent you, visit www.house.gov and www.senate.gov
To learn what is at stake in EHCY reauthorization, please read the status of previous efforts to amend the legislation.
THE HOMELESS CHILDREN AND YOUTH ACT
The Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA) is bi-partisan legislation that would make it easier for homeless children, youth, and families to receive homeless assistance, no matter where they happen to be staying. It would align HUD’s definition of homelessness for children and youth with other federal programs, and prohibit HUD from prioritizing one group over another.
The Homeless Children and Youth Act will be re-introduced in the next session of Congress in the new year. It is supported by nearly 300 organizations in 44 states. You can find out if organizations in your community or state have endorsed by visiting the HCYA website. If they have not already done so, please encourage your local and state partners to endorse the legislation by filling out the short form.
THE RUNAWAY AND HOMELESS YOUTH ACT
The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA) makes critical updates to Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs to enable them to serve unaccompanied homeless youth better. The legislation will be re-introduced early in the next session of Congress. For more information on the details of this legislation and recommended actions, please visit the National Network for Youth.
FEDERAL POLICY WEBINAR: JANUARY 28, 2014 AT 2:00PM EASTERN
NAEHCY’s next policy webinar will cover Congress’ early actions, providing late-breaking information and status updates on legislation related to homeless children and youth.