Spending for Homeless Youth Cut by almost $6 million

written by Sharon McDonald
April 15, 2013

For a number of years, homeless assistance programs under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) have been flat funded at $115 million annually. Those funds support the hard work of people on the frontlines of city, suburban, and rural homeless assistance programs, people working directly with homeless and at-risk youth.

These programs cannot afford the approximately 5 percent across-the-board cuts to discretionary programs required under sequestration. Across the nation, frontline service providers already regularly decline shelter and safety to young people because they simply lack capacity to serve them.

Sequestration took effect on Friday. March 1. For FY 2013, the current budget year, the Administration for Children and Families will be funded at around $109.25 million, about $5.75 million less than the previous year.

Federal funding makes up a small, but critical, part of funding for programs that help homeless youth. It augments the other public and private resources that they raise locally, and it helps round out often fragile budgets that are already insufficient to meet the need in their communities.

It makes it possible for them to conduct street outreach, provide emergency shelter (Basic Centers), and maintain transitional living programs for homeless youth. And it supports their valiant efforts to reunify young people with their family of origin or other caring adults, and their work it foster transitions to independence for those who cannot return home.

Now, these programs, and the youth who rely on them, are being asked to make do with less.

This will directly translate to fewer young people receiving critical crisis and safety services, family intervention, and independent living services.  And it will increase the vulnerability of an already vulnerable subset of young people.

The Alliance and its national partners are among those working to undo spending cuts under sequestration that will hurt the most vulnerable people. The impact of sequestration is already being felt in reduced grant awards. Let us know what a reduction in these valuable resources means to your community.