Washington, D.C. – Today, Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Seth Moulton (D-MA) introduced the Preparing Homeless Youth for Education and Employment Act, bipartisan legislation to provide access to dropout prevention and college and career counseling services to homeless youth.
“Homeless youth face more academic challenges than almost every other demographic group,” said Renacci. “In spite of these challenges and the desire of most homeless youth to pursue higher education and high quality careers, few have the appropriate resources to help them achieve their dreams. This legislation will provide these youth with the tools and support to stay on track to not only graduate but succeed post-high school.”
“Every kid deserves an opportunity to have a shot at higher education,” said Kilmer. “But whether you are interested in a certificate or four-year degree, it can be hard to get there if you are worried about where you will sleep at night. Our bipartisan legislation would give homeless students the tools to successfully pursue their career or college dream.”
“Youth homelessness is occurring far too often in our communities, and we must find ways to help this population get out of homelessness,” Stivers said. “This bipartisan legislation will give homeless youth important resources and support so they can stay in school and plan for the future to build a better life. This is another important step in the effort to combat youth homelessness, and I am proud to support this legislation.”
"No child should be denied the opportunity to succeed," said Moulton. "I am proud to join this bipartisan effort to address the specific risks facing homeless youth. Ensuring that students are provided with access to dropout prevention services, career and college counseling, and after school activities and resources regardless of their living situation isn't a political issue — it's common sense. There is still much work to be done to provide families with the resources they need to transition out of homelessness, but this bill is an important step towards making sure our children have access to the resources they need to be successful.”
“Higher education and job readiness provide the surest path out of homelessness, yet many homeless youth lack the guidance, assistance, and information to graduate from high school and transition successfully to college and careers,” said Barbara Duffield, Executive Director of SchoolHouse Connection. “This legislation will provide important flexibility to allow school districts to increase counseling services for youth experiencing homelessness, as well as drop-out prevention services. We are very pleased to support it.”
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the nation’s primary law regarding education for homeless children and youth and created the Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program, which authorizes grants to school districts for activities to facilitate the enrollment, attendance, and success of homeless students in school. The Preparing Homeless Youth for Education and Employment Act authorizes the EHCY program to award grants for providing dropout prevention services and college and career counseling services. Such services can include counseling related to employability skills, the credits needed to graduate and pursue higher education, and exploration of post-secondary opportunities.
Supporting organizations include:
- SchoolHouse Connection
- First Focus Campaign for Children
- American School Counselor Association
- Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro
- StandUp for Kids
- National Education Association
- National Network for Youth
- Civic Enterprises
- Family Promise
Reps. Renacci, Kilmer, Stivers, and Moulton are the original co-sponsors of the legislation.