Leahy Applauds $2 Million Grant To Address Youth Homelessness In Vermont

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hailed the announcement this week that the Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA) will receive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) a fiscal year 2017 grant of $2 million to address youth homelessness.  The funds, as part of HUD’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project, are being granted to VSHA on behalf of the Vermont Balance of State Continuum of Care, and in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Human Services and the Vermont Coalition of Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs.  The Balance of State Continuum of Care facilitates a coordinated approach to addressing homelessness.

Vermont’s $2 million grant is one of only 11 awarded to communities -- including five rural states and regions -- across the United States, and will be available for use across the state.  This grant funds an area of acute need after a 2017 estimate found that about 660 Vermont youths experience homelessness.  The funds will be used by providers to create a plan to end youth homelessness and provide direct support to homeless youth.  HUD will share the successful strategies developed in Vermont with other communities across the country seeking to tackle rural homelessness.

Leahy said:  “Young people are especially vulnerable, and even one homeless youth is too many.  As a rural state, Vermont faces many unique challenges, it’s only by dedicating resources to fight this problem that we can end youth homelessness.  This grant is an important step toward this goal, and as Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee I’m proud to fight for resources to end homelessness and improve the lives of our most defenseless friends and neighbors.”

As Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy has secured dramatic increases in funding for the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project, specifically expanding the focus on communities with rural populations.  Congress provided $43 million in fiscal year 2017, an increase of $10 million compared to the fiscal year 2016 enacted level, and Leahy secured $80 million in fiscal year 2018.  Leahy worked to ensure that this grant program also includes requirements to fund projects in rural communities like Vermont.  Leahy has long been the Senate’s leading champion of programs to reduce youth homelessness, and he is the lead author and sponsor of the bipartisan Runaway and Homeless Youth Trafficking Prevention Act.

The Trump administration has sought to cut many key programs that fight homelessness, including proposing to eliminate the Youth Homeless Demonstration Program.  In his role as Appropriations Committee Vice Chair, he has fought hard against the Trump administration’s proposed cuts.

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