Homeless Youth And Youth Research Paper


Runaway and Homeless Youth Act of 2008-PL 110-378 The Runaway and Homeless Act of 2008 built on legislation established in the 1970s that addressed youth issues in an attempt to keep youths from entering into the juvenile corrections system. Over the years, the Act has been reauthorized and expanded to support programs that aid homeless and runaway youths. Currently, reauthorization is awaiting approval in Congress. Leahy has added the rights of LGBT youths to the proposal, which has prompted Republicans to reject it. Thus, millions in funding is being withheld from programs that depend on federal dollars. This paper discusses the background of the Act and the proposal for reauthorization and why it should be given so that programs may continue and youths may be assisted.


The Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act also known as the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act of 2008-PL 110-378 is current legislation that was passed in 2008 at the federal level and that authorized the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program -- "the largest targeted federal program that provides assistance to youth under age 23 who are homeless or have run away" (p. 1). In 2015, the legislation was introduced into the Senate for reauthorization. The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act is the present form of the Act, and it seeks to modify the Basic Center Grant Program (a service providing short-term emergency shelter and family reunification to runaway and/or homeless youth). This paper will discuss the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act and show why it is a policy that supports social justice for young persons with issues related to homelessness and why reauthorization should be granted.


Proposed Legislation

The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act is legislation that was passed in 2008 and that was established by the Runaway Youth Act as Title III of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA; P.L. 93-415). Since that time it has been amended on several occassions and millions of dollars in allocated funds have been reauthorized for several fiscal years. In recent years, it has been amended by the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act (RHYA, 2014). Today, the program has three core components: the Basic Center Program (BCP) -- which gives short-term assistance to youths (including up to 30 days of shelter now); the Transitional Living Program (TLP) -- which gives housing; and the Street Outreach Program (SOP) -- which assists young persons living on the streets (S.262 -- 114th Congress, 2016).

Goals and Values

The goals of the reauthorization of this Act are to provide assistance to runaway and/or homeless youths through a variety of programs that address issues faced by runaways, homeless young persons, victims sexual abuse, and life on the streets for LGBT youths. The values that are expressed in this piece of legislation are based on the need to identify and show care for all young persons who leave home to escape an abusive environment or who have no home due to other circumstances; it is rooted in caring for young persons who have no recourse and no one to help them. As the 2014 Introduction to the legislation's...


1). The Act goes on to state that "without adequate and safe shelter, runaway and homeless youth are vulnerable to engaging in high-risk behaviors and further victimization" (p. 1). In prior years, the reauthorization bill also had supporters who urged that the law focus on helping gay and transgender youths, noting that "gay and transgender youth are more likely to be homeless than other youth" (Dunn, Krehely, 2012, p. 1). In short, the values associated with the Act are rooted in a society need to assist young persons who struggle with a variety of issues that may be outside their control. No values are clearly stated or identified in the act itself, and the ones noted above are generally implied and inferred: what is clear is that the Act is designed to help young persons who face issues associated with homelessness.
The current amendment of the Act is with the Committee on the Judiciary, where it has been referred by the Senate. The Act's reauthorization is asking $165 million in funding and is sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat representing Vermont. There are currently 33 cosponsors (2 Republicans, 1 Independent, and 30 Democrats) (Cosponsors: S.262 -- 114th Congress, 2016).

Financial Effects

The financial effects of this bill are that there will be substantial funding available for youths in need of shelter, for assisting youths who live on the streets, and for providing reunification assistance to families. The sum requested by the reauthorization bill is substantial but not overwhelming for the federal government and thus should represent no real problem. The effects of funding are realistically seen in, among other ways, the implementation of TLP, which provides safe accommodations, basic life skills, educational opportunities, mental health care, physical health care and job services (Federal Programs, 2015). The federal government is responsible for contributing these funds, which means, ultimately, taxpayers are the ones who support it.

The proposal for reauthorization will impact young persons who are in need of assistance of all varieties -- from basic necessities such as food and shelter to help getting their GED, help finding a job, help with health issues, etc. Young persons, as the proposed reauthorization legislation suggests, are particularly vulnerable to risks -- such as sexual exploitation, drug abuse, neglect, depression, alcoholism, physical abuse, and more. By taking care of youths who are in a helpless state, communities can be better served and protected.

Who is Affected

This reauthorization proposal would also help persons of all color, class and gender persuasion in many ways: because homelessness impacts youths who feel…

Sources Used in Documents:


Cosponsors: 2.262 -- 114th Congress. (2016). Congress.gov. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/262/cosponsors

Dunn, M., Krehely, J. (2012). Runaway and Homeless Youth Act should include gay

and transgender youth. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2012/05/pdf/lgbt_rhya.pdf

Federal Programs. (2015). Youth.gov. Retrieved from http://youth.gov/youth-topics/runaway-and-homeless-youth/federal-programs
Leahy, P. (2015a). Ending Homelessness among youth. Leahy.senate.gov. Retrieved from https://www.leahy.senate.gov/issues/ending-homelessness-among-youth-and-victims-of-domestic-violence
Leahy, P. (2015b). Ranking member. Leahy.senate.gov. Retrieved from https://www.leahy.senate.gov/press/ranking-member-senate-judiciary-committee-on-senate-republicans-vote-against-legislation-to-protect-runaway-and-homeless-youth-
National Alliance to End Homelessness. (2016). FY 2016 Appropriations. Retrieved from http://www.endhomelessness.org/page/-/files/FY%202016%20-%20RHYA%20Overview.pdf
RHYA. (2014). Digital Library. Retrieved from https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491622/m1/1/high_res_d/R43766_2014Oct23.pdf
Congress.gov. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/262/text

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