Runaway and Homeless Youth Act Programs (RHYA) by mensahbansu


									                        An affinity group of the National Human Services Assembly

November 16, 2004

Dear Member of Congress:

The National Collaboration for Youth urges you to ensure that the Senate funding levels for the
Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHYA) programs are adopted during final negotiations on the
FY 2005 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill. The Senate
committee has recommended funding RHYA programs at $111.8 million, a $6 million increase
above the House passed level and the FY 2004 appropriation.

While this increase is modest, it will make a significant impact on youth in crisis. Runaway and
Homeless Youth Programs serve thousands of youth each year who are experiencing
homelessness due to a myriad of reasons including physical and sexual abuse in the home,
domestic violence, and family drug and alcohol abuse. The Senate appropriation level would
support twenty new residential programs for youth across the country and five new street
outreach programs designed to remove homeless youth from immediate danger.

Throughout the nation runaway and homeless youth programs have seen a dramatic increase in
the demand for services over the last few years. The U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services reported in 2003 that nearly 40 percent of the youth who went to Transitional Living
Programs for help were turned away due to lack of resources. Transitional Living programs
provide transitional housing and independent living services to homeless youth between the
ages of 16 and 21. In addition, 4,200 youth were turned away from Basic Center Programs,
which provide emergency shelter and family reunification services. The most basic needs of our
nation’s most vulnerable youth are not being met due to lack of funds. The $6 million increase
proposed by the Senate will begin to fill that gap.

Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs now serve over 700,000 youth in all 50 states. The
last federally funded evaluation of the Transitional Living Program found that the programs
produced positive outcomes for participating youth including higher employment rates, improved
school attendance, reduced dropout rates, and an increase in participants’ savings to assist
their transition into self-sufficiency. Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs provide youth with
the tools and support to ensure a successful transition into independent adulthood.

The National Collaboration for Youth is a coalition of more than 40 national youth development
organizations that collectively serve over 40 million young people. We urge you to support the
Senate FY 2005 appropriations levels of $111.8 million for Runaway and Homeless Youth


Irv Katz
President & CEO

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