Congress should take the following actions related to runaway and homeless youth:
Congress and the Executive Branch should take the following steps to ensure an appropriate response to the needs of runaway and homeless youth:
Expand funding for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, which establishes three national programs:
The Basic Center Program which provides temporary shelter for youth in crisis and counseling for those youths and their families.
The Transitional Living Program which assists older homeless youth to move successfully toward independence.
The Street Outreach Program which connects youth on the streets to services and prevents sexual abuse and exploitation of these youths.
Ensure that services, supports and opportunities for young people are part of the local continuum of care and efforts.
Enhance funding for the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program and enforce the requirement that all barriers to public school enrollment, attendance and success of homeless children and youth are eliminated.
Ensure that, for short periods of time, alternatives to mainstreaming are available to homeless youth under the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program, to provide supplementary services to meet the unique needs of these youth.
Provide federal leadership to encourage cooperation at all levels of government and to involve leaders in state and local government and nonprofit organizations to better address the problems of runaway and homeless youth.
Provide federal support for aggressive campaigns and increased coordination to prevent child abuse and neglect, and provide early, effective intervention.
Improve homeless youths' access to health care, education, job training programs, and national service.
Support legislation for better low-income housing options and improved access to housing programs for young adults, including Section 8 vouchers for youth receiving services or graduating from transitional living programs or aging out of the foster care system.
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