Homeless Youth In America

1024 Words5 Pages
According to the 2014 Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) statistics, 34% of the total homeless population of America is under 24 years old (HUD 2014). Although HUD recognizes that this is an alarming number, current housing laws offer little protection for homeless college students. Young people in America face homelessness due to financial issues, lack of family support or insufficient housing. Reforming these laws will improve the lives of students struggling with inadequate housing and allow them to focus on their academic performance instead of worrying about their safety or where they will spend the night. Ronald Hallett, a Research Associate in the Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis at the University of Southern…show more content…
HUD’s lack of provisions for this homeless youth population poses unfair barriers to students who need stability and security at a crucial time in their lives. In January of 2015, Senator Diane Feinstein proposed the Homeless Children and Youth Act in the Senate to amend HUD laws and make aid more accessible to homeless youth. Since then there has been no action and it is unlikely that this bill will be enacted in the near future. Based on the bill tracking website GovTrack.us the chance of its success is 2% (GovTrack.us, 2015). This shows a dismal lack of concern by the government for our most vulnerable young people. Senator Feinstein for her part has been vocal in pointing out the lack of protections in the current laws and clearly states this on her website. She reiterates the trauma that homelessness has on educational and emotional development and stresses the importance of permanent housing as a basic human need, that will benefit not just the homeless but the nation as a whole (Feinstein,…show more content…
Without this support system, it is easy to fall behind in tuition payments and academic performance. Even if employed full time, many students cannot afford the rising tuition costs and frequently drop out of college due to lack of funding. Many colleges are unwilling to approve financial aid packages unless a student can show that they are independent of parental support, and require documentation proving this. Some educators and others have outspokenly protested financial aid being offered to students that are struggling with academics. One such educator is Jackson Toby, Professor of Sociology Emeritus at Rutgers University. Mr. Toby in his book, The Lowering of Higher Education in America: Why Financial Aid Should Be Based on Student Performance, is of the opinion that universal financial aid places an enormous burden on taxpayers and only students with better than average academic performance should be offered aid, thus weeding out the lower achievers and in his view raising the bar for education (Toby, 2009). This is a narrow minded view
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