A bill that would provide an additional $42.5 million in federal funding to combat youth homelessness has entered its final stage.
The bill, backed by U.S. Senator Bob Casey, is “expected to pass both houses of Congress by Friday,” according to a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania rep.
“The bill includes several provisions to expand and improve the delivery of HUD housing and services for homeless youth,” the spokesperson wrote. “A total of $42.5 million is provided to test comprehensive efforts to end youth homelessness in urban and rural areas, as well as to better count the number of homeless youth and evaluate the effectiveness of current programs.”
Senator Casey pushed for the bill and called for more funding for youth programs in October during an appearance at a Philadelphia youth shelter.
“No child should be homeless in our nation,” Casey said. “While there’s more to do in the coming years this increased level of funding is a down payment on the abiding obligation we have to these vulnerable children. Making sure all of our children have a roof over their heads is an important part of getting them off to a healthy and smart start to life.”
In a January 2014 count of homeless people across the United States, nearly 200,000 youth up to age 24 were found. In Philadelphia alone, more than 600 homeless youth were found in a January 2015 count. Experts, however, say those numbers are likely low estimates of how many young people are homeless.
NBC10's digital team recently published an in-depth investigation on the issues around homeless youth in Philadelphia through the eyes of more than a dozen teens and young adults who are currently or have been homeless. Watch and read the Faces of Homeless Youth here.