With the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a special thanks must be given to Senator Rob Portman of Ohio for including provisions to aid youth facing homelessness and addiction.
Senator Portman proposed Senate Amendment 2147, along with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island as a cosponsor.1 The amendment expanded drug and violence prevention grants to youth students who are battling addiction.2 In reference to drug abuse in Ohio, on the Senate floor, Portman importantly stated, “It is growing. It is a huge problem. The No. 1 cause of death now in Ohio is overdose from these drugs. It is no longer car accidents, as it has been in the past. We must focus on this issue, and the most effective way, of course, is through prevention and education, which I strongly support, and it is in the underlying bill.” The amendment proposed by Senator Portman specifically expanded the previous legislation to include support services for those battling drug abuse.
The second amendment, No. 2087, proposed by Senator Portman, along with Senator Diane Feinstein of California, seeks to streamline the HUD process to homeless resources for homeless youth. The current process is very strict as to who is considered homeless. A child or teen living out of a motel is one case that is not considered homelessness even though most of society would consider them homeless. Senator Portman’s amendment would allow school officials to write a letter to HUD certifying a student’s homelessness.3 This would streamline a process that usually requires homeless youth filling out 10-12 documents.
The work done by Senator Portman’s office was one small step in advancing the Homeless Children and Youth Act. We are pleased to see Senator Portman taking up work to aid homeless youth, and are hoping that he will continue his efforts to see the full Homeless Children and Youth Act passed.
Dan the Intern