WASHINGTON – Today, United States Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) joined House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (KY-03), Representative Don Bacon (NE-02), Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in introducing H.R. 5191, the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act of 2019. This bipartisan legislation strengthens and enhances protections for young people in the United States experiencing or at risk for homelessness. As a leading Committee member, Congresswoman Hayes will manage the bill’s passage through the Committee on Education & Labor.
First passed in 1974, the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act standardized the definition of homelessness for young people, funded programs providing temporary shelter and care to housing-vulnerable youth, and helped transition those in need to permanent housing. The law, which has been reauthorized numerous times since its original passage, is set to expire next year. H.R. 5191 would reauthorize its underlying provisions for the next five years and would invest greater resources in the fight against youth homelessness.
“We are measured by what we do to help the most vulnerable among us,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes. “There are very few examples of groups needing that assistance more than homeless youth. Through extensive outreach programs, technical training, and housing assistance, this critical legislation would help the millions of children around the country who are housing insecure. I thank Chairman Yarmuth, Congressman Bacon, Congresswoman Jayapal, Senator Collins, and Senator Leahy for coming together in a bipartisan and bicameral fashion to address this serious problem.”
According to data collected during the last reauthorization of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, 3.5 million young adults (18-25) in the United States experienced homelessness, along with 700,000 adolescent (13-17) youths. Homelessness is felt in far more significant numbers by LGBTQ, poor, and minority youths. In Connecticut, almost 4,400 people under the age of 25 are either homeless or housing insecure.
Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year. Currently serving her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.