U.S. Representatives Zach Nunn (IA-03), Don Bacon (NE-02), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), and Morgan McGarvey (KY-03) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help homeless young people nationwide. The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act of 2023 will increase funding for grants providing services aimed at preventing youth from running away or becoming homeless with a special emphasis on rural areas.
“Every young person deserves a safe and secure environment to grow up in,” said Rep. Nunn. “This bipartisan legislation ensures young people in vulnerable situations can receive the help they need to sleep, eat, study, and develop.”
The landmark Runaway and Homeless Youth Act was first passed by Congress in 1974, providing nationwide support to address youth and young adult homelessness. The bipartisan Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act of 2023 would reauthorize and expand these critical programs, including efforts to prevent human trafficking and support rural communities.
“As the number of homeless and runaway youth increases, we must increase our federal efforts to assist and protect these youth who are particularly susceptible to trafficking,” said Rep. Bacon. “This bill provides agencies with the means to support youth who are in vulnerable positions and gives them the resources to address these problems.”
“Young people thrive when they have a safe and stable home,” said Rep. Bonamici. “We must help and protect youth experiencing homelessness and survivors of trafficking in their time of need. This bipartisan update to the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act will expand and improve the services many youth need when they do not have a place to call home, and it strengthens programs that can empower them to transition out of homelessness.”
Specifically, the bipartisan Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act would:
- Reauthorize, modernize, and increase funding for programs under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act;
- Create a new Prevention Services Program that would make additional resources available to organizations providing counseling, mediation, and other services aimed at preventing youth from running away or becoming homeless;
- Increase annual grants to support rural youth;
- Require the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a national estimate of the prevalence of homeless youth every three years; and
- Increase the allowable length of stay in the Basic Center Program.
- Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Dick Durbin (IL). The legislation is supported by youth advocacy organizations, including the National Network for Youth.
Text of the bill can be found here.