By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)- The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has issued a letter of support for S. 2653, The Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2014, a bill that originated from Senator Feinstein’s office.
This bipartisan bill will redefine the definition of homelessness used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to accurately depict and assist homeless youth nationwide. This legislation specifically targets children living in motels and doubled-up in households with acquaintances who are particularly vulnerable to predators because they are hidden from social service providers and have no access to resources or protection.
In San Bernardino County, the County Superintendent of Schools Office reports more than 33,859 students in our schools are homeless including 555 living in hotels and 31,354 with relatives or friends. However, the 2013 HUD Point in Time Count only documented 2,321 homeless individuals, including just 161 children, living in shelters or receiving motel vouchers in our county. The alignment of definitions will serve to eliminate conflicting federal agency regulations and close the gap between disparate and inaccurate homeless youth counts.
Supervisor Ramos, who chairs the Homeless Youth Ad-hoc Committee under the Interagency Council on Homelessness, was pleased Senator Feinstein took an interest in this issue and requested input from our county.
“I’d like to thank Senator Feinstein for her efforts in protecting our most vulnerable children and youth and for involving our county in the legislative process. I’d like to thank my colleagues for their commitment to working on the issue here at the local level,” Supervisor Ramos commented. “By working together, we can provide every child with the opportunity for a bright, healthy, and successful future.”
A copy of the letter sent to the Senator Feinstein and other members of the County of San Bernardino Congressional Delegation, along with a copy of the bill, S. 2653 are attached.