A March 30 posting on Senator Collins’ website.
U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) reintroduced their bipartisan bill to curb youth homelessness and support young victims of trafficking. The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA), which is also cosponsored by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), would reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs and continue authority for grants to communities across the nation to prevent and respond to youth and young adult homelessness.
According to a recent study by Voices of Youth Count, an initiative of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, approximately 4.2 million young people experience homelessness in the United States each year. Approximately 73 percent experienced a homelessness episode lasting more than one month. Senators Collins and Leahy’s bill makes a priority of tackling these problems in both rural and urban states and communities.
This bipartisan bill includes training for service providers to identify victims of trafficking and bars grantees from denying services based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition to funding support for homeless youth, RHYTPA also addresses the root causes of homelessness among young people by providing education continuation programs, support for young parents, and access to services for LGBT youth, who are twice as likely as their peers to experience homelessness.