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County supports bipartisan bill on homeless youth
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Tuesday supporting the Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2014 which will accurately depict the population of homeless youth and expand assistance to more children in need.
Children living in unsuitable conditions such as hotels and motels or doubled up in households are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, predators and human trafficking because they are hidden from social service providers and have no access to resources or protection. The bill would make these children eligible for federal homeless assistance programs.
For now, homeless youth definitions used by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Education differ. The San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Office reports more than 33,859 students in our schools are homeless including 555 living in hotels and 31,354 living with relatives or friends. The HUD numbers are drastically different showing only 2,321 homeless individuals including 161 children living in shelters or receiving motel vouchers in San Bernardino County. The bill will eliminate conflicting agency regulations and close the gap between disparate and inaccurate homeless youth counts.
The bill also provides added flexibility for local community leaders to set priorities to best serve the needs of the community and draw on expanded access to funding.
Click here to read the letter from the Board of Supervisors.