It is estimated that approximately 750,000 to 2 million youth run away from home or experience homelessness each year.
But a program called the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act is helping these young people achieve everything that they can. These programs have been proven to reduce dropout rates, double school attendance, increase college attendance, increase employment rates, reduce parental physical abuse and improve family relationships.
America's homeless youth are denied shelter, housing and support because communities lack the spectrum of programs needed for complete support. These programs would build strong communities with partnerships among community-based organizations, businesses, law enforcement and local government to make sure these youth are taken care of.
Please tell Congress to allow $140 million in FY2009 for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs.
Tell Congress: Reauthorize Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs!
Dear Member of Congress,
Currently, there are approximately 750,000 to 2 million young adults who experience homelessness each year in America. Despite these rising numbers of homeless youth, the amount of federal funding allotted to this area has been either stagnant or declined every year since 2002.
The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (H.R. 3409) would fund programs that ensure safety and support to thousands of youth each year, via community-based nonprofit and public organizations that provide or support emergency shelter (not to exceed 15 days) for youth under age 18, counseling services for youth and their families to assist them in reuniting with their families, or connecting them to alternative supervised settings. But cuts to this federal funding have had a devastating effect on communities that lack sufficient funding on their own to provide youth with the necessary housing and support.
The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act is a cost-effective alternative to more expensive out-of-home placements. The average cost of serving a youth in a transitional living project is $8,810 -- less than half the minimum cost of serving youth through the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, with average annual costs ranging from $25,000 - $55,000 per youth.
Homeless youth face endless challenges. That is why we need the 110th Congress to help communities tackle the problems facing homeless youth, so we can get these children off the streets and help them grow up healthy and safe. Please ensure that the FY2009 budget includes $140 million for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act Programs.
Keep up the great work. Look what you've accomplished!
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